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Verbal Score on Actual GMAT- NOT GOOD, AGAIN!

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Verbal Score on Actual GMAT- NOT GOOD, AGAIN! [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2013, 08:54
Hey Guys,

I'm really confused with what I got today on the verbal section of the GMAT, I only pulled off a 30 (56%), my math was a 45 (68%). I don't understand how my Verbal was this low. I got in the 80th percentile( 78% was my minimum) on almost all my practice exams, of which I wrote at least 15. I've used Manhattan GMAT and Knewton. Only in a few Kaplan tests did I get low verbal scores.

This was the second time I wrote the GMAT. The first time I got a 610 but with a mark in Verbal that was also much lower than I expected, a 31 (59%), when I was destroying verbal in all my practice questions and tests.

I was getting high 600's and 700's on Manhattan and Knewton CAT exams. I got 650's on both my GMAT prep exams, which I thought was bad.I was ready to walk out of the test today with a 700, as I thought I did so well throughout the whole test, and I felt like I did real well in verbal, until I saw the score. I am a native english speaker, and nothing in my practice has shown that my verbal is bad.

I don't know whether I should try and go for a higher mark a 3rd time, or will I just be waisting my time? Is there anyway to work on my verbal? I have been accepted into a top ranked Canadian B-School but my dream has always been to go to an Ivy League.

Please help! Any advice would be appreciated!
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Re: Verbal Score on Actual GMAT- NOT GOOD, AGAIN! [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2013, 23:37
Can Anybody Help?
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Re: Verbal Score on Actual GMAT- NOT GOOD, AGAIN! [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2013, 00:32
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CharlieT wrote:
Hey Guys,

I'm really confused with what I got today on the verbal section of the GMAT, I only pulled off a 30 (56%), my math was a 45 (68%). I don't understand how my Verbal was this low. I got in the 80th percentile( 78% was my minimum) on almost all my practice exams, of which I wrote at least 15. I've used Manhattan GMAT and Knewton. Only in a few Kaplan tests did I get low verbal scores.

This was the second time I wrote the GMAT. The first time I got a 610 but with a mark in Verbal that was also much lower than I expected, a 31 (59%), when I was destroying verbal in all my practice questions and tests.

I was getting high 600's and 700's on Manhattan and Knewton CAT exams. I got 650's on both my GMAT prep exams, which I thought was bad.I was ready to walk out of the test today with a 700, as I thought I did so well throughout the whole test, and I felt like I did real well in verbal, until I saw the score. I am a native english speaker, and nothing in my practice has shown that my verbal is bad.

I don't know whether I should try and go for a higher mark a 3rd time, or will I just be waisting my time? Is there anyway to work on my verbal? I have been accepted into a top ranked Canadian B-School but my dream has always been to go to an Ivy League.

Please help! Any advice would be appreciated!


Well, it's really hard to say what brought your score down. It always is when people don't score as much as they do in practice tests but it is especially hard when someone *feels* confident during the exam but gets surprised. Read David's post on this very problem:
http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2013/03 ... bal-score/
It might help explain some of your problem.

Obviously, there must be some gap too. I would suggest you to first sit and try to recall everything about the test - the questions you got (say, there were some CR assumption questions, 2 SC questions which definitely had modifier errors, RC passage on biology etc), whether you thought they were too easy at times, whether you were able to see through some tricks the questions were trying to pull etc.
Thereafter, go back to your practice tests and figure out the kind of questions in which you make mistakes. Do you see a lot of overlap?
If not, you should still understand that the algorithm used by actual GMAT is not known to anyone so the practice tests give you a rough idea at best. If you have lower accuracy in certain question types, you might want to revisit them thoroughly.

As for whether you should take GMAT again, the decision only depends on your own aspirations.
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Re: Verbal Score on Actual GMAT- NOT GOOD, AGAIN! [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2013, 02:32
Hi,

Thank you for the reply!

Honestly, the questions that I saw felt exactly like those of the practice test, and it got to a point, where with SC, a 3 sentence question would be completely underlined, and I would get a bunch of those back to back; in the practice tests, those were the 700-800 level questions. Even the RC paragraphs were extremely complicated. I kept seeing difficult questions and assumed I was doing good. I was able to get an idea of how well I was doing in Quant, based on the difficulty of the questions, but I guess I was wrong with the verbal. Again, the questions seemed no different from any practice test. I was so shocked that I even asked GMAC that if it was possible to have screwed something up with the computer after I accidentally kicked it during that section which caused a weird buzzing noise; Thats how shocked I was with the score.

As for whether I should take it again, this is what I posted in the general questions section of this site:

-First time I wrote the GMAT, I actually had a complaint about the staff in the writing centre. Right when I started my verbal, they came back from lunch and decided to just have some sort of staff party, and didn't realize that I could hear everything; On top of that, the person who was supposed to watch over the test was with them and not in her seat. So for this reason, I thought my Verbal was ruined by them, and I got a free re-try.

*For anyone that doesn't know, if you are bothered for more than a min during your test, you are allowed to re-schedule for free*

So the second time, I thought that if I just studied the same way, I would get a good verbal score, as long as nothing disturbed me during the test. It turns out that something was really wrong with my verbal because the test centre was perfect.-

Now I'm thinking of private tutoring to focus on Verbal. I know you're with veritas, but do you really believe that private tutoring will help get me out of this verbal mess? And if so, do you recommend anyone to help me?

I'm willing to do the test a 3rd time, I now know what my problem is, and in a month when I can do the test again, I think I'll have what it takes to get a 700.

Thank you for the advice, and anything more would be great!
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Re: Verbal Score on Actual GMAT- NOT GOOD, AGAIN! [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2013, 18:34
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CharlieT wrote:
Hi,

Thank you for the reply!

Honestly, the questions that I saw felt exactly like those of the practice test, and it got to a point, where with SC, a 3 sentence question would be completely underlined, and I would get a bunch of those back to back; in the practice tests, those were the 700-800 level questions. Even the RC paragraphs were extremely complicated. I kept seeing difficult questions and assumed I was doing good. I was able to get an idea of how well I was doing in Quant, based on the difficulty of the questions, but I guess I was wrong with the verbal. Again, the questions seemed no different from any practice test. I was so shocked that I even asked GMAC that if it was possible to have screwed something up with the computer after I accidentally kicked it during that section which caused a weird buzzing noise; Thats how shocked I was with the score.

As for whether I should take it again, this is what I posted in the general questions section of this site:

-First time I wrote the GMAT, I actually had a complaint about the staff in the writing centre. Right when I started my verbal, they came back from lunch and decided to just have some sort of staff party, and didn't realize that I could hear everything; On top of that, the person who was supposed to watch over the test was with them and not in her seat. So for this reason, I thought my Verbal was ruined by them, and I got a free re-try.

*For anyone that doesn't know, if you are bothered for more than a min during your test, you are allowed to re-schedule for free*

So the second time, I thought that if I just studied the same way, I would get a good verbal score, as long as nothing disturbed me during the test. It turns out that something was really wrong with my verbal because the test centre was perfect.-

Now I'm thinking of private tutoring to focus on Verbal. I know you're with veritas, but do you really believe that private tutoring will help get me out of this verbal mess? And if so, do you recommend anyone to help me?

I'm willing to do the test a 3rd time, I now know what my problem is, and in a month when I can do the test again, I think I'll have what it takes to get a 700.

Thank you for the advice, and anything more would be great!


The format of the questions needn't necessarily reflect difficulty. A 3 sentence all underlined might actually be easier than a one sentence with two words underlined though we will certainly perceive the 3 sentence one to be harder. The point is, we can't say whether we are getting harder or simpler questions especially in Verbal. What seems easy to us might have a trick. What seems hard might again, just be a trick. Anyway, you know now that there is some major gap somewhere. You need to figure it out and I am sure your practice tests can help you. You certainly made mistakes in the practice test - figure out your weakest areas.

As for whether private tutoring can help - we do this for a living - people get value out of it - else we would have had to shut shop long time back.

But you need to understand what to expect - a private tutor is an extremely convenient and efficient strategy. He will look over your work and tell you where you stand right now, why you are lagging in some areas and what to do about those. He will explain you wherever your concepts are weak and will discuss how best to approach certain questions i.e. what will be best for you. He will keep an eye on your progress and solve your individual problems. He will discuss topics that NEED discussion i.e. only according to your requirement so that time is used efficiently. You gain an expert as a mentor to guide you and support you along the way.

But what he cannot do is take the test in your stead i.e. he cannot put in the time and effort to practice; he can make a schedule for you to follow but he cannot follow it for you. He can explain you fundamentals but he cannot absorb them for you. You will need to ask him questions whenever you have any doubts. The point is, you will still have to work hard. It will be smarter, since he will identify your weaknesses and you will not waste time and put your energy only where required but the bottom line is, you will still get rewarded for your hard work only. The more you put in, the more you will get out of it.

I will be able to recommend someone to you once you tell me where you are located.
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Re: Verbal Score on Actual GMAT- NOT GOOD, AGAIN! [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2013, 02:05
I'm located in Dubai, so im not sure what is available here. I am willing to be tutored online.
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Re: Verbal Score on Actual GMAT- NOT GOOD, AGAIN! [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2013, 11:53
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Hi Charlie,

You mention that you've taken our exams. If you PM me your name/email, I can take a look at your Manhattan CATs and see if I notice anything interesting.
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Re: Verbal Score on Actual GMAT- NOT GOOD, AGAIN! [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2013, 20:21
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Okay, I took a look. Naturally, it's a little hard to tell why you did worse on the real test from looking at your CATs, but if you didn't notice anything different, it's all we have to go on.

The biggest thing I noticed is that you are under 50% in CR. You seem strong on the core assumption-based problems, but you are getting destroyed pretty much everywhere else--Describe the Role, Explain the Discrepancy, and Draw a Conclusion. While you should get some more practice on all of these, Draw a Conclusion is where you need to focus the most attention. This is really about making inferences, which is one of the core skills on this test. You only got 1/8 correct in this area, so clearly something is going wrong! One thing to consider on these is if you identified the task correctly--sometimes these can look like Strengthen questions if we're not reading carefully. The next thing is to go back through and try to find support. Can you see why the right answer is justified? It should be right there in the text. Can you see why the wrong answers are wrong? They should each have some element that is not supported by the text. This is really the exact same task as Reading Comp inference--you just have a shorter piece of text to work with. You're doing much better there, so it may help to cross-train between those two areas.

On SC, you are missing all of the Verb and Idiom questions, so those could use some attention. Interestingly, you're also missing a lot of Meaning questions. This could help to explain your test-day performance. When there's a meaning issue that we don't see, we are often quite confident that we have the right answer. These are important to check for, especially if several of the answers seem like they could work.

Your RC is really strong, so it's just important to make sure that you're okay regardless of the content area. If there's any topic that gives you a hard time, make sure to get some extra practice with that type of material. For instance, if you don't like passages about literature, find all of the literature RC passages that you can! Pay careful attention to inference here, so that you can strengthen your CR skills in the process.

The other thing to consider is if you are changing anything on test day. Sometimes when people underperform on Verbal, it's because they are simply exhausted by the end of the exam. It looks like you are consistently taking realistic CATs (complete with essay & IR). Were you timing them completely realistically (no pauses, 8 min breaks between sections)? Did you approach the test differently in any way on test day? Did you put extra pressure on yourself to get them all right? I noticed that on your last 2 CATs, you finished Verbal rather early. This isn't necessarily good (maybe you could have used that time productively), but did it happen on test day, or did you end up crunched for time? Were you still able to let a problem go if it was too hard?

Of course, we'll never really know why you got the score you got, and in any case, it's not that much lower than your practice tests in terms of raw score, especially considering that your highest Verbal scores were on tests you were retaking (so you may have benefited a little from working with material you had seen before). In the end, you'll just have to focus on strengthening your weak areas (in quant and verbal) and making sure you are handling the overall timing/endurance aspect well. If it makes you feel better, I have heard from a lot of students who ended up needing to take the real test 3 times just to get the score that they had been hitting consistently at home! Keep it up!
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Re: Verbal Score on Actual GMAT- NOT GOOD, AGAIN!   [#permalink] 26 Apr 2013, 20:21
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