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1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed

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1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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This is my first message in the forum, although I have spent almost 50% of my preparation time with the questions posted here. So, first, I would also like to thank you all for sharing so many questions from different sources and posting your solutions and approaches. It has been really helpful.

I took the gmat last week and still wondering what happened. My preparation exam results (I also did AWA and IR in all the exams as well as 8 minute breaks) from GmatPrep were 690 (q48, v36), 680 (q47, v36), 690 (q49, v35) and 720 (q50, v38). I did not retake any of the exams (I bought the two extra exams), so the results should be pretty accurate of my performance.

What freaks me out the most is the decline in verbal. As a non native speaker, I have faced difficulties, overall, with SC. In all my exams I got wrong more or less 10 questions in verbal, and between 80 and 90% of them were SC. I realized I had always been focusing on understanding English, and SC is a total different thing. And that is why I studied SC MGMAT (went through it two times, took notes first time and improved them the second time, and did all the exercises). I frankly believe it helped improve, I had more fundamentals to use to discard choices, but when it come down to two options without [obvious] grammatical errors, I was unable to identify most of the "wordiness" or "awkwardness".

What do you guys think I could do to improve my verbal? I have been reading for an hour every day of my preparation (1 month and a half) and read every day one or two articles in the economist. Maybe try some other guide, like Aristotle? I am having a break now and will retake in some months, with another month or so for preparation.

I would also like to add some things I have learnt while preparing for the gmat that I hope someone had told me when I first started. I hope it can help someone:

- Preparation is about improving. If you do not know your weaknesses the return of your time will be much lower than if you know them. Spend the first days trying to assess that.
- Once you know which are you weaknesses, work on them. Some people say that it is better to focus on your strengths but, in general I disagree because of the GMAT algorithm - if you are very good at PS, but terrible at DS, you can be able to do the most difficult probability problems, but they will never appear in you exam, since DS errors will make the algorithm give you easier questions. In my case, my quant score improved only when I realized I always failed in the exams the probability problems. As soon as I focused on that and mastered probability in two or three days, my quant score went up to 50
- Do not prepare as your friend did. Or maybe do so, but because you are convinced that that way you will earn the best return on your time. Not even if s/he has scored 750. Everyone has its own weaknesses and you must be able to assess them to pick the best resources to achieve your score. Maybe your friend was crap at CR and needed Pwerscore CR Bible, but for you it would be better to invest that time in learning more about number theory.
- Have in mind a target score that is reasonable for the preparation time you have and you objectives. Although I believe everyone can score above 700, some people may take it two weeks and some others will need 2 years. But try that your objective is realistic so that your mock score do not bring you down
- Do a test early in your preparation. Again, for getting somewhere, you first need to know where you are.

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Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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underwood28 wrote:
This is my first message in the forum, although I have spent almost 50% of my preparation time with the questions posted here. So, first, I would also like to thank you all for sharing so many questions from different sources and posting your solutions and approaches. It has been really helpful.

I took the gmat last week and still wondering what happened. My preparation exam results (I also did AWA and IR in all the exams as well as 8 minute breaks) from GmatPrep were 690 (q48, v36), 680 (q47, v36), 690 (q49, v35) and 720 (q50, v38). I did not retake any of the exams (I bought the two extra exams), so the results should be pretty accurate of my performance.

What freaks me out the most is the decline in verbal. As a non native speaker, I have faced difficulties, overall, with SC. In all my exams I got wrong more or less 10 questions in verbal, and between 80 and 90% of them were SC. I realized I had always been focusing on understanding English, and SC is a total different thing. And that is why I studied SC MGMAT (went through it two times, took notes first time and improved them the second time, and did all the exercises). I frankly believe it helped improve, I had more fundamentals to use to discard choices, but when it come down to two options without [obvious] grammatical errors, I was unable to identify most of the "wordiness" or "awkwardness".

What do you guys think I could do to improve my verbal? I have been reading for an hour every day of my preparation (1 month and a half) and read every day one or two articles in the economist. Maybe try some other guide, like Aristotle? I am having a break now and will retake in some months, with another month or so for preparation.

I would also like to add some things I have learnt while preparing for the gmat that I hope someone had told me when I first started. I hope it can help someone:

- Preparation is about improving. If you do not know your weaknesses the return of your time will be much lower than if you know them. Spend the first days trying to assess that.
- Once you know which are you weaknesses, work on them. Some people say that it is better to focus on your strengths but, in general I disagree because of the GMAT algorithm - if you are very good at PS, but terrible at DS, you can be able to do the most difficult probability problems, but they will never appear in you exam, since DS errors will make the algorithm give you easier questions. In my case, my quant score improved only when I realized I always failed in the exams the probability problems. As soon as I focused on that and mastered probability in two or three days, my quant score went up to 50
- Do not prepare as your friend did. Or maybe do so, but because you are convinced that that way you will earn the best return on your time. Not even if s/he has scored 750. Everyone has its own weaknesses and you must be able to assess them to pick the best resources to achieve your score. Maybe your friend was crap at CR and needed Pwerscore CR Bible, but for you it would be better to invest that time in learning more about number theory.
- Have in mind a target score that is reasonable for the preparation time you have and you objectives. Although I believe everyone can score above 700, some people may take it two weeks and some others will need 2 years. But try that your objective is realistic so that your mock score do not bring you down
- Do a test early in your preparation. Again, for getting somewhere, you first need to know where you are.


Hi underwood28 ,
I am sorry to hear that test day did not go as expected. You should order an ESR that will help you investigate and analyze your performances on the sections on the exam .
Manhattan SC is the best book for SC . Also , you might want to try out e-GMAT SC course as it might give you a new perspective on how to approach SC .

All the best for your next attempt!! :good
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Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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Hi underwood28,

First off, a 670/Q50 is a strong score (it's above the 80th percentile overall), so it could be enough to get you into your first-choice School. As such, a retest might not be necessary. Depending on the Schools that you plan to apply to, you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile. There's a Forum full of them here:

http://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admission ... tants-124/

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your Official Score is 'in line' with your practice scores (albeit at the 'lower end' of your range). That having been said, since your Quant ability is already so strong, you could potentially make some big gains in the Verbal section with just a month of proper focused Verbal study. Before we talk about that though, I have a few questions about how you took your CATs:

1) Did you take them at home?
2) Did you take them at the same time of day as your Official GMAT?
3) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
4) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE?

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1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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Hi underwood28,

Sorry to hear about your experience. I understand how you must be feeling right now, however GMAT is a fairly tricky exam which can be improved upon given adequate practice. I completely agree with skywalker18, I think E-gmat might be a great option for you to improve upon your SC given their strong emphasis on Non-natives. Further I would also recommend trying out Empowergmat. I think it is a great course and they do offer 1 hour trial which will help you get a taste of their course. I am also attaching some important practice questions which can be found on various posts on GMAT club. I hope you find them helpful. All the best.
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Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2017, 03:16
Many thanks to you all for your comments!

Skywalker18 , I had not thought of an ESR, but given the surprise in verbal I think it is worth it, so I will go for it. And I had always thought online courses were not the best way to invest my time, but it looks like maybe I could use some new strategies and a different approach so maybe that will be right for me... Thank you again!

EMPOWERgmatRichC , thank you for your words! My top 3 bs are Booth, Columbia and Wharton, and I (humbly) think the other parts of my application could make my profile interesting (top employer, top 10 in uni, international work, support at work with essays, and some interesting extracurriculars...) so I will definitely retake. After all, Gmat is an exam and not entering my 1st choice with a competitive candidacy because of a poor (or not good enough) score is not conceivable for me at the moment!! But I will definitely ask in the thread you posted to better assess my real possibilities! Thanks. And yes, after all 670, although my lowest score, is within the range... overall, the surprise was the decline in verbal (from 35 [lowest score in CATs] to 30). I guess it should only take some improves in verbal and I will be over 700! And yes, all CATs at the same time as my exam, 8 minute breaks, quiet room at home (is it a negative point?) and no CAT repeated, so no familiar questions for me! but yes, it is with the +/- 30 range after all. Thank you again!

rohan2345 thank you for the attachments. I came across the SC docs you are attaching at the end of my preparation, but I´m sure if I had put more time into it I would have done better on the real exam. I did not know about the other docs, so thank you (overall quant questions seem fun to practice! :lol: ). And yes, I am already looking for the course that will better adjust to my needs, so thank you for the great input.

I hope to post again in a few months letting you know your advice helped me achieve +700 (I´ve set future target in +720, but above 700 I guess it could be enough)

Best

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Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2017, 12:01
Hi underwood28,

If you know how to calculate an average, then it shouldn't be hard for you to figure out that Booth, Columbia and Wharton will invite a number of applicants who scored 670 to attend School (and they do this every year). This is meant to say that your score is absolutely "in the range" of what what all of those Schools consider acceptable, so you should absolutely apply to all 3 of those Schools (even if 670 ends up being your best GMAT score). That all having been said, there's certainly no harm in retesting, and a significantly higher GMAT score could help the strength of your overall application.

To that end, I have a few additional questions about the lead-up to Test Day and Test Day itself:

1) What did you do in the 3 days before your GMAT?
2) How did you sleep the night before your Test?
3) How long was the ride to the Test Center from your home?
4) Were there any distractions at the facility or during the Test?
5) What did you do during the two 8-minute breaks?
6) Did you finish any sections early?
7) Did you have to rush to finish any sections (and guess on questions just to finish on time)?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2017, 10:47
underwood28 wrote:

What do you guys think I could do to improve my verbal? I have been reading for an hour every day of my preparation (1 month and a half) and read every day one or two articles in the economist. Maybe try some other guide, like Aristotle? I am having a break now and will retake in some months, with another month or so for preparation.



Did you have any strategy for Reading the Economist OR you just used to read and it still helped.
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Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2017, 02:43
HKD1710 wrote:
underwood28 wrote:

What do you guys think I could do to improve my verbal? I have been reading for an hour every day of my preparation (1 month and a half) and read every day one or two articles in the economist. Maybe try some other guide, like Aristotle? I am having a break now and will retake in some months, with another month or so for preparation.



Did you have any strategy for Reading the Economist OR you just used to read and it still helped.



I just read it, focusing on understanding intention rather than meaning of every single word or phrase. I guess thats what is tested (or intended to be tested) in the exam: your understanding of intention rather your knowledge of english itself.

Also, at least for me, the less fun the less effort, so trying to read something with a strategy would have kept me away from reading as much as I did.

Hope it helps!

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Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2017, 03:01
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi underwood28,

If you know how to calculate an average, then it shouldn't be hard for you to figure out that Booth, Columbia and Wharton will invite a number of applicants who scored 670 to attend School (and they do this every year). This is meant to say that your score is absolutely "in the range" of what what all of those Schools consider acceptable, so you should absolutely apply to all 3 of those Schools (even if 670 ends up being your best GMAT score). That all having been said, there's certainly no harm in retesting, and a significantly higher GMAT score could help the strength of your overall application.

To that end, I have a few additional questions about the lead-up to Test Day and Test Day itself:

1) What did you do in the 3 days before your GMAT?
2) How did you sleep the night before your Test?
3) How long was the ride to the Test Center from your home?
4) Were there any distractions at the facility or during the Test?
5) What did you do during the two 8-minute breaks?
6) Did you finish any sections early?
7) Did you have to rush to finish any sections (and guess on questions just to finish on time)?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Yes, thanks for your words! I am pretty aware of that, although I think 670 is still out of the 80% of most of those BS. However, probably q50 would give me more chances, but I hope I can improve in my next retake. Thank you for support.

Regarding your queries,

1) I practiced a lot. Maybe around 12-14 hours a day, except for the day before, when I just read my MGMAT SC notes and Powerscore Bible CR notes and did some few OG exercises... I did not want to stop doing exercises the day right before. Maybe that exhausted me a bit...
2) I slept well, for 8 hours. I had been going to sleep every night at the same hour, one that would allow me to sleep for 8 hours and still have time enough to get ready before the exam on the exam day, so I had a set schedule. So imo that was not a problem!
3) I took a taxi that took me only 15 minutes, so I guess that did not exhaust me either!
4) Actually there were, but in the AWA: The lights went off for 5 minutes. I think that actually benefited me, since I could have an additional mini-break after 20 minutes doing the AWA. After that, everything went well. I did the verbal alone in the room, without any other exam taker in the room.
5) I ate a banana and some cereal snack and drank some water. Before entering the room, I jumped for 30 second to increase blood stream.
6) I did not. Actually in the verbal part I had to rush through the last 8 questions (I remember I had only 10 minutes left) but that was something I was used to in my exams - I do not read quick in English.
7) Same as 6), although I managed to have time enough to choose the answer I though was correct. I mean, I did not do any educated guess, but had less time to rethink the question twice before answering.

Thank you again for your interest.

Best,

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Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2017, 04:17
Very sad to know about your score in GMAT and all the best for your upcoming attempt.
+1 for the points, you shared.
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Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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Hi underwood28,

From what you described, you did far too much work in the last 3 days before your Official GMAT - and that likely caused you to 'burn out' a bit before Test Day. Studying for 12-14 hours a day is NEVER a good idea - and doing so in the last few days before your Exam is the worst possible time to put in those types of hours (that type of 'cramming' may have helped you in College, but it doesn't really work when dealing with a Standardized Test such as the GMAT). The drop in Verbal Scaled Score might be attributable to just that one thing. As such, if you're going to re-attempt the GMAT, then you cannot repeat that behavior. There might also be a benefit to learning new Tactics for (and the inherent patterns behind) the Verbal section. The Verbal section of the GMAT is as consistent and predictable as the Quant section is - and your ability to spot the patterns (in the prompt AND in the answer choices) - even when you're a bit tired - can make a big difference in your overall score.

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Hi everyone,

I took the GMAT (2nd attempt) on wednesday and scored 750 (q50,v41). I would like to thank you all who commented on february and gave me support.

If anyone is interested, I did not do anything much different this time. I just did again all OG exercises, focused on those fields that I felt I needed to improve and be relaxed the day before. I slept like 10 hours, which I guess helped me attain this score. Also, for non native speakers like me, being able to do the verbal before having done AWA and IR can make a difference. Being able to choose the order of the parts has been key, in my opinion. Last time, I remember that by the time I was doing verbal I was tired of having been reading english for 4 hours (its a bit exhausting to be reading 4 hours at 100% concentration in a foreign language, no matter how well you speak it, at least in my case)

I would like to encourage all those who scored below their mocs to retake the test, sometimes, its just a matter of luck or of not being tired.

Thank you everyone again.

EDIT: This time, the day before I did nothing related to GMAT. Thats been the most helpful tip I took from you guys

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Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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New post 01 Oct 2017, 09:18
underwood28 wrote:
Hi everyone,

I took the GMAT (2nd attempt) on wednesday and scored 750 (q50,v41). I would like to thank you all who commented on february and gave me support.

If anyone is interested, I did not do anything much different this time. I just did again all OG exercises, focused on those fields that I felt I needed to improve and be relaxed the day before. I slept like 10 hours, which I guess helped me attain this score. Also, for non native speakers like me, being able to do the verbal before having done AWA and IR can make a difference. Being able to choose the order of the parts has been key, in my opinion. Last time, I remember that by the time I was doing verbal I was tired of having been reading english for 4 hours (its a bit exhausting to be reading 4 hours at 100% concentration in a foreign language, no matter how well you speak it, at least in my case)

I would like to encourage all those who scored below their mocs to retake the test, sometimes, its just a matter of luck or of not being tired.

Thank you everyone again.

EDIT: This time, the day before I did nothing related to GMAT. Thats been the most helpful tip I took from you guys


Congratulations on this brilliant score. Hard work paid off. I really lack on the determination and discipline part. How did you keep up the studies since Feb till now?
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Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed [#permalink]

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New post 01 Oct 2017, 09:24
HKD1710 wrote:
underwood28 wrote:
Hi everyone,

I took the GMAT (2nd attempt) on wednesday and scored 750 (q50,v41). I would like to thank you all who commented on february and gave me support.

If anyone is interested, I did not do anything much different this time. I just did again all OG exercises, focused on those fields that I felt I needed to improve and be relaxed the day before. I slept like 10 hours, which I guess helped me attain this score. Also, for non native speakers like me, being able to do the verbal before having done AWA and IR can make a difference. Being able to choose the order of the parts has been key, in my opinion. Last time, I remember that by the time I was doing verbal I was tired of having been reading english for 4 hours (its a bit exhausting to be reading 4 hours at 100% concentration in a foreign language, no matter how well you speak it, at least in my case)

I would like to encourage all those who scored below their mocs to retake the test, sometimes, its just a matter of luck or of not being tired.

Thank you everyone again.

EDIT: This time, the day before I did nothing related to GMAT. Thats been the most helpful tip I took from you guys


Congratulations on this brilliant score. Hard work paid off. I really lack on the determination and discipline part. How did you keep up the studies since Feb till now?



Thank you very much. I stopped after the 670 and started studying again on september. I remembered almost anything so it was easier now. What I started doing was reading a lot in English, because I though that was one of my weakest points (I used to read very slow in English) and I guess it paid off (from 30 to 41 in verbal)

Regarding discipline... What I used to do was doing 37 quant and 41 verbal everyday, going through all the official explanations. It helped me because it was a clear objective. Hope you find your way and wish you the best!

Kudos [?]: 2 [0], given: 8

Re: 1st attempt 670 (q50, v30) - disappointed   [#permalink] 01 Oct 2017, 09:24
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