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390 Practice Test 1&2

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390 Practice Test 1&2  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2019, 16:59
Hello everyone,


As the topic header suggests I took the MBA practice test in December with no prior study and scored a 390 Q17 V26. To say I was disheartened is an understatement. I'm 26 years old and I cried like a baby. I read several forums that had super success stories of people taking a diagnostic and scoring in the 300's and then with 2+ months of studying scoring 650+. To say my math skills are terrible are an understatement as well. I grew up in the South Bronx from shelter, to severe bullying, so the little education I was receiving was over shadowed by the crowd of kids gangbanging.

After my first diagnostic I finished the Manhattan Algebra book and I learned alot. I was trying to understand the concepts. Then I cracked open the OG Quantitative book and refreshed some stuff. I did about 78 questions and was feeling good, as the forums broke down the difficulty of said problems to 500-600. So I was confident that I would go from 390 to, I would say the 500's, If not break 600. I took the second practice test after I 1 month of light studying (1-3hrs a day of drilling some easy problems), and I scored the same score of 390 but my Verbal score went down from a Verbal (44th percentile) to a V20 (23rd percentile). And my Quantitative score went from a Q17 (4th percentile) to a Q23 (9th percentile). I felt numb, got up from my seat at the public library and went home.

I believe I just sank into a depressive slump. I feel heavy and so tired. Don't know what to do from here. My IR score also went down from an IR5 (55th percentile) to an IR2 (12th percentile). Granted, I pretty much barely tried on the IR I wanted my Quantitative score to see if I had improved. But to drop 6 points on my Verbal score is also heart breaking. After Quantitative I kind of shut down. I knew I did a terrible job. But if I was to keep my old V26 score and add my new Q23 score. Maybe my new score would be in the very low 400's, so a very slight improvement.

What I'm thinking about doing now, is go through and review every question in the 2 practice tests that I had taken, and attempt to understand each question. To be honest, not truly sure what to do after. I would appreciate some advice.

I have all of the Manhattan Books that cover the basics, as well as the 3 OG books. My target score is 700+. Any and all feedback is welcome.

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New post 08 Feb 2019, 18:03
Hi Mis156.

I realize that it may seem that you didn't make progress with the work that you did. The truth is that by making some basic moves, learning some quant concepts and doing some practice questions, you drove your quant score up 6 points. 6 section points is great progress. By making that much progress a few more times you will get to the 40's in quant.

Also, here's the thing, while you have heard stories of people going from the 300's to the 600's in a few months, the truth is that GMAT prep often, or even usually, does not go that way. Rather, hitting a GMAT score goal often takes several months. For instance, a person comes to mind who started at 380 and ended up scoring 750. I think making that progress took her around a year though, and probably her experience is more typical of GMAT prep than those 380 to goal score in two months stories you have heard.

For more on developing the optimal mindset for GMAT success, you could check out this post. Developing the Proper Mindset For GMAT Success

For more on how long to prepare for the GMAT you could check out this post. How Long Should I Study for the GMAT?

Regarding how you have been preparing and how to prepare going forward, in order to hit your score goal, you have to adjust what you are doing to make it more linear and more thorough. In other words, rather than simply review the concepts that you need to know and doing some practice questions, you have to master this test concept by concept and question type by question type.

Ideally, you want to follow a structured study plan that allows you to individually learn each GMAT quant and verbal topic, starting with the foundations before moving to more advanced concepts. By following a structured and methodical approach, you can ensure that you master each topic individually and thoroughly as you progress through GMAT quant and verbal.

For example, say you are learning about Number Properties. First, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills.

You can see how this approach would be more effective than the approach that you have been using so far. Yes, working in this way takes time. At the same time, it WORKS.

Follow a similar routine for verbal. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each question type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and instead focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and thereby comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage.

Sentence Correction is a bit of a different animal compared to Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. There are three aspects to getting correct answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions: what you know, such as grammar rules, what you see, such as violations of grammar rules and the logic of sentence structure, and what you do, such as carefully considering each answer choice in the context of the non-underlined portion of the sentence. To drive up your Sentence Correction score, it is likely that you will have to work on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending under two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see in order to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and those reasons are not that the correct version simply "sounds right."

As for the third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct, what you do, the main thing you have to do is be very careful. You have to make sure that you are truly considering the structures of sentences and the meanings conveyed rather than allowing yourself to be tricked into choosing trap answers that sound right but don't convey meanings that make sense. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice repeatedly until you start to see the differences between the choices that make all choices wrong except for one.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regimens, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your skills improve, you will then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

In order to follow the path described above, you may consider using an online self-study course, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews best quant and verbal courses.

You also may find it helpful to read the following article about
How to Score a 700+ on the GMAT — A Mini Guide for Success.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions.
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390 Practice Test 1&2  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2019, 20:53
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Mis156 wrote:
I took the second practice test after I 1 month of light studying (1-3hrs a day of drilling some easy problems), and I scored the same score of 390 but my Verbal score went down from a Verbal (44th percentile) to a V20 (23rd percentile). And my Quantitative score went from a Q17 (4th percentile) to a Q23 (9th percentile). I felt numb, got up from my seat at the public library and went home.
Hang in there. Your V26 is not "gone". Think of it as the current high-water mark: you can get to that score again (and likely surpass it) even if there are fluctuations in your score along the way. By the way, these fluctuations are normal. They may not be welcome, but they happen.

I see this a lot with students at the beginning of their prep. They are looking to make improvements, but can't quite bring everything together just yet. The thing to do at this stage is to focus on incremental improvements. For example, your quant score has gone up. Focus on that for now if you want. Get back to verbal after some time. Start both in parallel once you become more comfortable with what the exam tests.

Most importantly, give yourself time. The jumps in the posts you read (300-650 in 2 months!) do happen, but an increase of 350 points is not easy at all.
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Re: 390 Practice Test 1&2  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Feb 2019, 07:46
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Hi Mis156,

It is possible to improve your score, but it is not easy. I spent 7 months to get 700+, and it required a lot of work. I could understand some questions, but I could not solve similar questions quick enough. So, I practiced a lot to make the solving process automatic.

You can learn a lot from other GMAT stories. For example, this one:
From 420 to 700
Best GMAT Stories

So, it requires persistence and hard-work from every test-taker. I know the people who spent 5 years to finally get 700+. One of them got into Booth, another one into Wharton. So, some people felt the same, and it is normal. It is importnat to leave those haunting memories in the past where they belong.

There are many more great threads on this forum and many people ready to help.

Hope this helps!
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Re: 390 Practice Test 1&2  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Feb 2019, 13:31
Hi Mis156,

To start, many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so you should not expect to have necessarily mastered any concepts just yet. That having been said, "review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix'). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your last CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

Beyond that information, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your goals:

1) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Re: 390 Practice Test 1&2  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Feb 2019, 17:46
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Mis156,

To start, many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so you should not expect to have necessarily mastered any concepts just yet. That having been said, "review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix'). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your last CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

Beyond that information, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your goals:

1) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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



Thank you very much for your advice and response, I truly appreciate the feedback.

1) When are you planning to take the GMAT? Maybe January-February of 2020
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School? By March 1st 2020
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to? Specifically, the school I would like to attend is BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo. Their Quantitative Techniques for Economics in Management (QTEM) program is quite competitive and they said I would need a 700 to have a shot at acceptance. I don't see much about this school on this forum at all, so I can only go by what they tell me.
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New post 09 Feb 2019, 18:12
MartyTargetTestPrep

Thank you very much for the advice and for reaching out to me, I truly appreciate it. Your advice is amazing actually, but I am left with some questions. I was going to PM you, but I believe someone may come along looking for help, and this thread may help that person.

You mentioned mastering a section, such as Number Properties and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. Does software exist, that gives me the ability to isolate questions by categories such as number properties etc? Because I have many books that may help me with the initial building of the fundamental knowledge I may need to begin, but supplementing studying with many questions seems to be an obstacle for me. The Manhattan prep books give me about 4-9 after chapter questions to understand the information I read through, but that's about it. As I have mentioned, I have the Manhattan prep books (which are like 10 books), as well as the 3 OG books to get me started at the base. But I'm hoping there's a program or software out there that may consolidate everything into one. Drilling questions for every category of the GMAT broken down by difficulty level, as well as performance indicators that track my progress. To be honest, I am quite new to the GMAT world, I'm not familiar with anything other than the books that a friend recommended.

Thank you very much.
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Re: 390 Practice Test 1&2  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Feb 2019, 18:18
AjiteshArun wrote:
Mis156 wrote:
I took the second practice test after I 1 month of light studying (1-3hrs a day of drilling some easy problems), and I scored the same score of 390 but my Verbal score went down from a Verbal (44th percentile) to a V20 (23rd percentile). And my Quantitative score went from a Q17 (4th percentile) to a Q23 (9th percentile). I felt numb, got up from my seat at the public library and went home.
Hang in there. Your V26 is not "gone". Think of it as the current high-water mark: you can get to that score again (and likely surpass it) even if there are fluctuations in your score along the way. By the way, these fluctuations are normal. They may not be welcome, but they happen.

I see this a lot with students at the beginning of their prep. They are looking to make improvements, but can't quite bring everything together just yet. The thing to do at this stage is to focus on incremental improvements. For example, your quant score has gone up. Focus on that for now if you want. Get back to verbal after some time. Start both in parallel once you become more comfortable with what the exam tests.

Most importantly, give yourself time. The jumps in the posts you read (300-650 in 2 months!) do happen, but an increase of 350 points is not easy at all.



Thank for the words of encouragement, I truly appreciate it. I know that a jump of 350+ is very difficult to do (especially in a short amount of time), but I have about 1 year to get there. I am confident I can do it.

Thank you again.
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New post 09 Feb 2019, 20:09
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Mis156 wrote:
MartyTargetTestPrep

Thank you very much for the advice and for reaching out to me, I truly appreciate it. Your advice is amazing actually, but I am left with some questions. I was going to PM you, but I believe someone may come along looking for help, and this thread may help that person.

You mentioned mastering a section, such as Number Properties and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. Does software exist, that gives me the ability to isolate questions by categories such as number properties etc? Because I have many books that may help me with the initial building of the fundamental knowledge I may need to begin, but supplementing studying with many questions seems to be an obstacle for me. The Manhattan prep books give me about 4-9 after chapter questions to understand the information I read through, but that's about it. As I have mentioned, I have the Manhattan prep books (which are like 10 books), as well as the 3 OG books to get me started at the base. But I'm hoping there's a program or software out there that may consolidate everything into one. Drilling questions for every category of the GMAT broken down by difficulty level, as well as performance indicators that track my progress. To be honest, I am quite new to the GMAT world, I'm not familiar with anything other than the books that a friend recommended.

Thank you very much.
Hey Mis156,
I had the same thing in my mind, what I found through gmatclub.com is that you can see each question category by tags and solve as many questions as you need. I didn't start this process myself yet but it is the best I have found to apply my understanding.

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New post 10 Feb 2019, 06:12
Mis156 wrote:
MartyTargetTestPrep

Thank you very much for the advice and for reaching out to me, I truly appreciate it. Your advice is amazing actually, but I am left with some questions. I was going to PM you, but I believe someone may come along looking for help, and this thread may help that person.

You mentioned mastering a section, such as Number Properties and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. Does software exist, that gives me the ability to isolate questions by categories such as number properties etc? Because I have many books that may help me with the initial building of the fundamental knowledge I may need to begin, but supplementing studying with many questions seems to be an obstacle for me. The Manhattan prep books give me about 4-9 after chapter questions to understand the information I read through, but that's about it. As I have mentioned, I have the Manhattan prep books (which are like 10 books), as well as the 3 OG books to get me started at the base. But I'm hoping there's a program or software out there that may consolidate everything into one. Drilling questions for every category of the GMAT broken down by difficulty level, as well as performance indicators that track my progress. To be honest, I am quite new to the GMAT world, I'm not familiar with anything other than the books that a friend recommended.

Thank you very much.

Hi Misael.

There are various different ways to get categorized practice questions, as you are finding out.

Another option would be to subscribe to a self-study course, which would provide categorized practice questions along with instruction and detailed explanations.

Just be careful not to use questions that come from the official GMAT Prep practice tests before you take those tests, as, if you do, you will sabotage the practice test experience and neither get an accurate sense of how you would score on the actual GMAT or get real practice through taking official practice tests.

In any case, it's great to see that you are getting good support here on GMAT Club and seem to be feeling better already.

Rocking the GMAT is largely about attitude and effective project management. As you go along, if you run into any kind of obstacle, just keep looking for ways to handle the challenge you are facing, as you are sure to find something that will work.
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Re: 390 Practice Test 1&2  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Feb 2019, 11:12
Hi Mis156,

Since you're not planning to take the GMAT and apply to School for another year, you've given yourself plenty of lead-time to study - which is great. The Program that you're interested in will likely put a greater emphasis on each Applicant's Quant Scaled Score. Thus, while you'll need to learn all of the necessary math rules/formulas, you will also have to train to do that math by hand AND learn the Tactics and patterns that the GMAT Quant section is built around (since the Quant section of the GMAT is NOT actually a 'math test').

For free math practice and help, I recommend that you set up an account at Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org). The site is completely free and makes the learning a bit more fun and 'game-like' (as opposed to the dry academic approach taken by most books). While the site is vast, you should limit your studies to basic Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry. After spending a little time re-building those skills, you can restart your GMAT studies.

The self-analysis of your last CAT performance is still really important information though, so you should plan to do that review soon. Once you've done that assessment, you should post back her (or you can PM/email me directly and we can discuss the results).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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Re: 390 Practice Test 1&2  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Feb 2019, 21:33
Hi, Mis156

It seemed that you are motivated and encouraged by the other people’s advice. And that’s really nice. I also want to put an emphasis on the fact that studying Gmat is a long-term journey and you should not be frustrated or demotivated by the initial scores. As a beginner, you don't have to hasten to hit the target score right now. Most of the people who experienced a jump of 300-400 points spent at least 6-7 months studying hard. And considering that you have almost 1 year to prepare for GMAT, I’m sure that getting the score 700+ is achievable. Firstly, I want to focus on your first improvement in Quant. Your Quant score has been improved by 6 points after 1 month studying, which shows that you have potential to progress. Of course, the verbal score could be dropped if you didn’t pay attention carefully to that part. But, recovery in verbal part is not that difficult, because the reason could be you lost your touch, so if you again become familiarized with verbal part, then you can regain it.

To score over 700, I recommend you to strategize. For example, if you are good at logical thinking and solving quant problems, you‘d better set a goal to get Q48-49. Then, it is okay to get V38-39. And vice versa. Assuming that you spend at least 2-3 hours a day studying Quant, then it can take 2-5 months to hit the score over Q49.

However, at your score (around Q23), the most important thing is to solidify concepts and establishment. You should focus on fully understanding these 5 key topics (Integer, Statistics, Inequality, Probability, and Absolute Value) that account for 80% of the GMAT exam. After you get 80-90% of questions correct, then you can move on to the other topics. But you should keep in mind reviewing the topics every time you find out weaknesses in some topics. Especially, these steps are essential in quant part. You may consider enrolling our course which is to offer different and unique approaches to solve math questions with ease, speed and accuracy.

To exactly assess your current math skill and receive a customized guide to improve your target score within time the frame you are expecting, we highly recommend you to take our "Free Diagnostic Test" that assesses your skill with 73 questions including all categories and topics. You may try it after registering for the membership.

Please let us know if you have further questions.You can reach us at info@mathrevolution.com

Success is within your reach, Good luck!
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Re: 390 Practice Test 1&2   [#permalink] 17 Feb 2019, 21:33
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