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1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score

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GMAT 1: 640 Q42 V36
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1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 13:11
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Hello everyone,

Before I start my depressive post of how I ended up way below my expectations, I'll give you all a little background information about me: I have been working as an engineer in an oilfield company for the past, almost, 5 years and I've recently decided to get an MBA. I have been based in my home country and apart from some overseas training programs I do not have much international exposure, though my company works for and with a lot of multinational firms and is itself a famous oilfield service provider. I primary motive for getting an MBA is to open further opportunities for me as I wish to develop a more "open" career path and my primary goal is to land a job in one of the MBB - Consulting.

Now the depressive stuff, I have been away from structured education for 5 years and with the results I have obtained seems like I am more rusty than I imagined. I have been preparing for the GMAT for about a month now, basically I bought the kaplan Premier 2017 book since I couldn't find the Manhattan guides in book stores in my city and started prepping for Verbal from Kaplan. Eventually I found the Manhattan guides and bought all the basic guides as well as the foundation for verbal and Official Guide Companion for sentence correction as well as a copy of the OG. I figured since most of what is tested on the GMAT is basic reasoning and High School Math, I would be able to get by and get a near 700 score just by studying the material in the guides. Boy I was wrong!

Without a doubt the Manhattan guides are excellent and they provide excellent strategies to tackle the GMAT, however, partially due to my overconfidence/Procrastination and partially due to being involved with activities at home, I did not even attempt most of the questions at the end of the chapters. I did not finish "reading" through the math guides until about 9 days before my exam, after which i started reading through the verbal guides. After reading a couple of debriefs I realized I needed to take a CAT to see where I stood, so I took the kaplan CAT online and got a 680 ( Q45, V35) . This made me realize I needed more practice and I started attempting OG questions and decided to rush through the Verbal Guides. After 2 days I took a Manhattan CAT and scored a 610 (Q38, V35). The Manhattan IR section was easier (which is good because I found it to be at the same difficulty as the GMAT), verbal was pretty much similar as compared to kaplan, however, Math was much much harder, and my timing was really off and I left a lot of questions in the Math section which ended up slowing me in the verbal section. However, I wasn't put off by that as I had read on forums that Manhattan Math sections are harder than the GMAT. Plus, at the time I took the CAT I had gotten home from doing chores all day long, so I shrugged it off as a side effect of my mental fatigue. After reviewing my mistakes for my Kaplan CAT and Manhattan GMAT I proceeded to attempt a few more GMAT problems and go through the SC Manhattan guide more thoroughly.

I attempted my 3rd and Final CAT (Kaplan) 2 days before GMAT and this time I got a 710 ( Q49, V39), I was reasonably happy with the improvement and after reviewing my mistakes I decided not to study much on the last day, I only got in an hour to read 3 sample AWAs and practice a few SC Questions.

For my GMAT I have to admit I made a rookie mistake. For the past month I had been sleeping late at night ( around 2am) and most of my studying was done after 6 pm. Not to mention I took the 2 Kaplan CATs around afternoon - started around 2pm. The Manhattan CAT I took around 5 pm. Understandably, I was waking up late around 11 am each morning, even though I had registered for my GMAT at 10 am.
The night before GMAT I couldn't sleep until 2 am into the night, I woke up at 6am, took a quick look at my notes and then went to the test center. Even before the exam I was having trouble focusing and feeling sleepy generally. I brought a redbull with me and a bar of chocolate for the break, though I only drank the energy drink in the break before my Quant (I took AWA and IR first). Half way into my Quant -which btw I started 1 minute late since I had taken too much time mistaking that the time started once the TA had scanned my palm - I realized I was way off my pacing and instead of pacing up I only got slower and slower. In the end I rushed through my final questions. After a pee break, I was back for verbal for which again my pacing was off, even though the questions were not substantially more difficult than the CATs I had taken before, and I ended up rushing through my final questions in Verbal as well.

Well the score wasn't a shock after the mistakes I made, but I was disappointed in myself, I had hoped to get atleast a 680. For a moment I was going to cancel the test, But then I remember I still had 72 hours to do so. Now I am wondering if I should keep the scores. I plan to retake my GMAT in november/december, this time with a much more structured approach, for which I am open to suggestions/advice.

So if you can help me figure out any of the following I would be grateful:

1) Should I cancel my scores? Initially I was for it, since I want to target a score of around 740. But I think it would be useful to get the report and my AWA score as it would provide valuable feedback. As far as I know schools don't care about previous scores anyways, right?

2) Any advice on which course I should take, I am sure I need more practice on Quant, particularly I want to improve my accuracy and pacing. CR I have been mostly performing good in 80-100% accuracy in my CATs, RC and SC are areas of improvement for me.


Sorry the post ended up longer than I had expected it would :sad:
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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 13:29
Hey buddy,

first of all, thank you for the detailed debrief, this makes giving an advice a little easier as you provide the relevant framework information.

Based on your describtion it sounds like that you performed quite a bit below your standarts on testday. While this happens to many of us, it would be an arguement for canceling the score.

Furthermore, it sounds like you would be able to put in some time between now and your attempt in Nov/Dec, again something which would speak for a retake.

Could you provide some of the schools you attend to apply for? The average/median Gmat scores of the respective b-schools also have a significant imapct on whether you should retake you test or not. :)

All the best,
Chris
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A couple of things that helped me in verbal:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-strategies-268700.html#p2082192

Gmat Prep CAT #1: V42, Q34, 630
Gmat Prep CAT #2: V46, Q35, 660
Gmat Prep CAT #3: V41, Q42, 680

On the mission to improve my quant score, all help is appreciated! :)

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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 13:35
Thanks for the prompt Reply!

Well I plan to apply to Harvard, Wharton, Kellog, Tuck and INSEAD; I know this might be a bit ambitious, but considering my long term goal of getting into a top tier Consulting firm, this is what I need to do.
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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 13:37
Also if anyone can provide feedback regarding how accurate are Kaplan CATs then it would be very helpful. This information will not only help me decide if I should cancel the scores, but also help me when in planning my future prep and what CATs I should take.
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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 13:39
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GoalMBB wrote:
Thanks for the prompt Reply!

Well I plan to apply to Harvard, Wharton, Kellog, Tuck and INSEAD; I know this might be a bit ambitious, but considering my long term goal of getting into a top tier Consulting firm, this is what I need to do.


Nothing wrong with having ambitious goals. ;)

However, based on the schools you are targeting I would cancel the 640 and retake the test.
All of the aforementioned schools have median GMAT scores around 700 or even higher.

Regards,
Chris
_________________

A couple of things that helped me in verbal:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-strategies-268700.html#p2082192

Gmat Prep CAT #1: V42, Q34, 630
Gmat Prep CAT #2: V46, Q35, 660
Gmat Prep CAT #3: V41, Q42, 680

On the mission to improve my quant score, all help is appreciated! :)

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Posts: 216
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GPA: 3.6
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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 13:41
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GoalMBB wrote:
Also if anyone can provide feedback regarding how accurate are Kaplan CATs then it would be very helpful. This information will not only help me decide if I should cancel the scores, but also help me when in planning my future prep and what CATs I should take.


This might be of help to you:

https://gmatclub.com/reviews/tests-kapl ... -345345673

Although the number of reviews is not super high, those reviews might still provide some inside.

Furthermore:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/all-gmat-pra ... ml?fl=menu

Regards,
Chris
_________________

A couple of things that helped me in verbal:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-strategies-268700.html#p2082192

Gmat Prep CAT #1: V42, Q34, 630
Gmat Prep CAT #2: V46, Q35, 660
Gmat Prep CAT #3: V41, Q42, 680

On the mission to improve my quant score, all help is appreciated! :)

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Posts: 6
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GMAT 1: 640 Q42 V36
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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 13:52
Thanks Arro44,

So, there is a chance that my 1st GMAT score may negatively impact the admissions committee's decision, I read on a few articles that they only look at the most recent scores. Or is it different now?

Also, I left this out earlier, But I hadn't selected any schools to deliver my score report to for this GMAT, like I said I was feeling sluggish even before the test and just to be on the safe side I had decided not to use the free delivery slots. So, if I take my 2nd GMAT and score much better, will the schools still receive this test's scores?
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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 14:10
Hi GoalMBB,

To start, many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores; if you've really been studying for just one month, then this is a relatively strong Score. Raising a 640 to a 740+ will likely require at least another 2 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

You also seem to understand that you were not taking your CATs in a realistic fashion that 'matched up' with what you faced on Test Day. Now that you've taken the Official GMAT though, you can better prepare for your next attempt - meaning that you should take your CATs away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc. In addition, you would likely find it beneficial to begin your Exam with the Quant and Verbal sections (so that you can approach both of those sections when you have more energy and are more alert).

The scoring algorithm on the Official GMAT is far more complicated than most people realize. Since that algorithm is proprietary, no GMAT company has an exact match for it, thus CAT scores can vary a bit based on the 'biases' involved in their respective designs. The most realistic CATs available are the 6 from GMAC (the 2 free CATs, and each of the 2 that come with Exam Pack 1 and Exam Pack 2), but the CATs from Kaplan are 'close enough' to the real thing that they will provide you with a relatively realistic score assessment (assuming that you use the CAT correctly).

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your goals:

1) What application Rounds/deadlines are you planning to apply for?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 14:24
First of all thanks for the detailed response Rich.

Ideally I would like to apply in R2 for January, though there is still the possibility of delaying my application to R1 for next year, but I'd rather not take that option. So that gives me 3 months to prepare for both my GMAT and TOEFL as well as complete my application.

I will have some restrictions on time since my Job does not allow me to take out much time, it's more of a 24/7 thing where your on call all the time, or managing/supervising work at times for as much as 20 hours a day. For this test I studied mostly during my time off/vacations. Having said that I'll hope to take out 10 hours in a week atleast, but even that might be optimistic, which is why I would need to organize myself better and focus on those areas and those prep material from which I can get maximum output in minimum time.

Regards,
Owais
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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2018, 23:14
Hi Owais,

With the Round 2 application deadlines, you still have plenty of time to continue studying and improving. That having been said, if you do not think that you can study much more than 10 hours a week, then we'll have to be really efficient with your studies going forward (and there might be a limit to how much you can improve).

1) Besides the CATs/books that you listed, have you used any other study materials?
2) When are you planning to study for the TOEFL?

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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Sep 2018, 02:05
Hi Rich,

Apologies for the late response, but back at work and did not have internet yesterday.

1) Well I only used the Manhattan Guides, Kaplan Premier 2017 and the OG. However, I did not get to working on the OG problems and probably did even less than 10% of the problems in it.

2) For TOEFL I will probably give it within a week after my GMAT. I have heard from friends who gave the TOEFL a couple of years ago that it is much easier than the GRE/GMAT and I am planning to study for it in the week after my GMAT.


Thanks again for your input.
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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Sep 2018, 21:09
Hi Owais,

Considering that you have to study for 2 Exams, it would make sense to continue on with your GMAT studies immediately.

Based on everything that you’ve described, I think that you would find the EMPOWERgmat Total Score Booster to be quite helpful. Most of our clients complete that Study Plan in under 2 months, but your goal should not be to 'rush' through any of that material. You need to focus on learning and practicing the proper Tactics, so that you can use them on Test Day to lock in that higher Score. We have a variety of free resources on our site (www.empowergmat.com), so you can 'test out' the Course before setting up an Account.

If you have any additional questions, then you can feel free to contact me directly.

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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2018, 03:17
Hi GoalMBB,

It is unfortunate that your scores were not in line with your expectations. You have rightly identified that your habits in the days leading up to your exam may have had an impact on your performance and a structured approach is required for the second attempt. You must order your ESR irrespective of you cancelling the score or no. Read the following articles to know more about ESRs and how they help:

Once you get your ESR, please share it with us on support@e-gmat.com along with the following information as that will help us in giving you a more personalized feedback:
    1. Target score
    2. Time available to study

Looking forward to your email!

Regards,
Aditee
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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2018, 18:42
I prepared for 3 months and got 640. I cancelled my score and now wondering if I should retake it just give up on this dream. I ran out of time in verbal and my score I guess dipped all of sudden. I got some really tricky wuestion until last 15 min that I screwed everything

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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2018, 15:32
Hi prinka14,

I suggest that you start by posting your own thread (overall study timeline, what you experienced on Test Day, when you plan to apply for School, etc.) in the Shared Experience Forum (instead of piggy-backing on this thread). That way, the discussion can stay focused on your situation and goals. I'll be happy to answer any questions that you have and offer you the personal advice that you're looking for (you can also feel free to PM or email me directly if you prefer).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: 1st GMAT - 640: considering cancelling score &nbs [#permalink] 16 Sep 2018, 15:32
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