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Hey guys, Ive been studying for the GMAT since September 2012, I used OG13, Manhattan set of 8 and kaplan. I felt so ready for my exam, all sections of it. My first Gmat prep i got 540 but the second one, which i did a few days to the exam i got 730, this for me was proof that i was more than ready. When I got to the exam center, everything went smoothly, I sailed through the first ten Quant questions and it was at that point that i began to worry, wondering why they had remained easy. Seriously, there was no trick about these questions, they were all so easy, the kind i would have passed even without practice.. However, i decided not to worry, thinking that maybe in third world countries (I live in Uganda) the test is simpler than in other countries around the world, so I kept on doing all these easy numbers, In all 37 questions, I only remember 1 question I wasnt certain about, Infact the most difficult question was a 45-45-90 triangle. I was over joyed thinking that maybe my hard work had paid off, since i could do almost all the numbers. The verbal on the other hand, was consistently tough! I never caught a break, my SC consisted of entire sentences underlined and my passages were long.. I also had a lot of those two bold face statements questions. But I pushed on, Verbal is my strength so I ploughed though it. I was certain I had done better in quant than in verbal, so imagine my shock when i saw my score.. 27Quant and 38V. I have never scored so low in quant, and I dont think i could have scored that low with the questions I was asked. My first instinct was to think that there was a problem and maybe the test wasnt computer adaptive in my particular case, which would explain why the quant remained so easy, and the verbal so hard. Especially the quant.. these were primary school questions. The worst thing about my experience is that, if there was no error, then i truly do not know where I went wrong.. As far as i know, I killed that quant section, it was too easy to get wrong, and I dont know how to prepare for next time, because I dont know what mistakes I made.. I dont know how my final score could be the same as my diagnostic test.. And all the CATs I did were in exam conditions, right down to the time i woyld get started. Is there a way I can find out what I got wrong in the exam, so i can see for my self that I failed enough questions to get me to 27Q?? Because right now, Its so much easier to believe that the system didnt work.. and my sections stayed at the same level of difficulty throughout the exam instead of adapting to my strengths and weaknesses. Any advice is welcome at this point.. I am poor and do not want to spend another 250$ unless I absolutely have to.. and I have no idea where to go from now, though I think I will email GMAC and ask them if everything is Kosher at their Uganda centre. *sigh*
Sorry to hear that the GMAT treated you so rudely, sunshineavenue. It never hurts to check with GMAC to see if there's anything strange going on with the Ugandan computers, but they'll almost certainly tell you that everything is fine. The test is thoroughly standardized, and isn't any different in third-world nations than it is elsewhere in the world... so there's probably a less pleasant explanation for the 27Q, unfortunately.
Here's my (probably completely unsatisfying) theory: you probably made just enough careless errors to keep your score painfully low. As you probably know after all of your hard work, your GMAT score depends primarily on the difficulty level of the questions you get right or wrong--not necessarily on how many questions you got right. If you make a couple of careless errors early in the test, you'll see more easy questions, and you'll have to go on a pretty hot streak to climb into more difficult questions. Once you've made some mistakes early in the test, your margin for error is substantially reduced, and even an occasional error (say, every four or five questions) can keep you pinned down to the easier questions.
Sometimes even the best quant minds will have a little bit of test-day jitters, whether they consciously feel nervous or not. If this is the case for you, it wouldn't be strange to think that you made a few small mis-reads or miscalculations in the first five or ten questions. If you missed, say, three out of the first five, and then if you continued to make occasional errors after that, then the result isn't so shocking. You would, of course, see plenty of easy-looking quant questions, and your score wouldn't be so great--even if you only missed 10 or 12 questions during the entire test.
I know that this isn't a satisfying explanation, since it's not the sort of thing that results in a nice, clean prescription (i.e. "study more geometry!"). I don't know if this helps, but as you continue to study, really focus on reading carefully and re-checking your work as you move through questions. If a question looks easy, take a little bit of extra time on it--you might be missing a trap somewhere. Ideally, your practice work (including practice tests) should be pretty much free of careless errors... since all of us are more likely to screw up under the bright lights of the actual test day, it's crucial that you're 100% error-free in your practice to minimize the chances of an "oops-driven" score meltdown on the actual GMAT.
One last thing: if you got a 730 on the GMATPrep, you're definitely capable of succeeding on the real thing. Keep fighting, and don't let one bad day get you down.
Wow, it sounds like you've been through some rough stuff lately. Sorry to hear about your friend's dad. That's definitely the sort of thing that makes it hard to focus on filling in silly little bubbles.
If anything, it makes me feel even more optimistic that you'll break through on your next attempt, though. Maybe I missed something, but I didn't see any mention of the GMAT Quant Review and GMAT Verbal Review books in your original post, and I would definitely recommend using those--there's simply no substitute for official questions. And you'll definitely want to purchase the GMATPrep Question Pack, which contains 400 retired questions.
The MGMAT tests are worth doing, but it's really hard for any test-prep company to perfectly copy the style of the test. Since your verbal score is already really high, you might want to stick with the official questions in the resources mentioned above, and maybe supplement with a little bit of LSAT for a good CR and RC challenge. And then use the MGMAT CATs primarily for quant. And when you practice, really be hard on yourself about the careless errors... if you can eliminate those, I'm sure that you'll be more than fine.
Please kick the crap out of the GMAT next time, and please tell us all about it afterward. Good luck with everything!
Hey Gmat ninja, you know what, you are probably right. And now that all the shock and anger has worn away, I can see clearer the recipe for disaster I set up.. One of my friends lost her dad on sunday the 18th, so I was at the vigil Sunday night, monday night and on tuesday I travelled 300 km for the burial, returning wednesday evening for my test on thursday. I was underslept and exhausted, and relied on an energy drink to boost me.. which explains the false high... but I could never have noticed careless mistakes in that state. Anyway, i have rescheduled my test for 4th January, I am worried that I have depleted all my study materials though, so my plan is to go through the manhattan set of 8 books again and then buy their CATs, since i never did those. what do you think? And once again, thank you for replying and showing me that there is light at the end of this abyssmal tunnel..
Hey, You are right, I havent used either the quant review or verbal review. I will try and look for those as well, though my biggest problem is the cost, but I will figure it out. thank you for all the advice and I will kick the GMATs Butt next time and tell you a beautiful story..