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550 Second Attempt.

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550 Second Attempt.  [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2017, 09:22
Link to my first debrief: https://gmatclub.com/forum/so-i-didn-t- ... 37152.html

TLDR of my First Debrief:


I started studying for the GMAT on Feb 1st and took the exam on March 25th. I score a 570 with a Q44 V24 AWA 5.5 and IR 6.
I was definitely disappointed by my first appearance. I needed to score at least 650 for the school that I needed to apply to and my goal was to get a 700.

Materials Used: The Economist and OG17.
CATs in the 600-640 Range.

From then till now


There was another deadline coming up for a school which required a minimum of 600+ on the GMAT on the 15th of May. So after about 10 days after my exam, I began prepping again.

My Quant had been pretty consistent and a lot of my problems in Verbal came down to timing and Sentence Correction.

I decided it would probably be best to get some new materials so I signed up for the EmpowerGmat Course. I was very familiar with all SC and Quant rules so I put a lot of emphasis on doing more material from the OG and reviewing those mistakes. I went through most of the EmpowerGmat course and found a lot of its tactics helpful, mainly the ones regarding DS, RC, and SC.

I took Rich's recommendation and did full-length practice tests under real test conditions. I even went out and purchased the MGMAT Scratch Pad. All these small things definitely helped with my test day stamina.

Practice Cats:
MGMAT 1: 630 (Q40 v36)
GMAT Pack 1 Test 1: 600 (Q46 v27)
GMAT Prep 1 Retake: 660 (Q46 v35)
GMAT Prep 2 Retake: 620 (Q44 v31)
Economist 5: 680 (Q50 v35)

I took my last practice cat on Saturday and reviewed it on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday did very light practice from the OG mainly SC and CR and read my book during the evenings to keep my reading skills sharp.

Was very relaxed day before the test, went on a walk in the morning, and a little run in the afternoon. Briefly went over my flash cards, and got everything ready for test day.

Test Day Experience


Woke up at 5:30 a.m on a good 7 hours of sleep. Did my normal bathroom routine. Did a few light exercises in my room (pushups, squats, planks) and then went on a brisk jog for about 20 minutes. Was feeling pretty good at this point. Had a quick shower then ate my breakfast while doing a quick 10 question warm up from the GMAT only easy questions (Mix of CR, SC, DS,&, PS). Got 9/10 correct and left for my exam at 7:00. Arrived at 7:30 and probably began my test by 7:45.

Everything started pretty smooth. The essay went well, IR was decent. Took a quick break Bathroom, Snack, Check In. The first question in Quant through me off my game a little it was something I hadn't really seen before. About 2:00 into the question I realized that I could probably solve it but it wouldn't be worth the additional 2 minutes. So I made an educated guess and moved on. I kept up with time for the most part but I was never able to get into a rhythm. I felt that every 3-4 Questions something weird would come up. I had to guess on the last question of the test but I guess that's not to big a deal. At this point, I knew it wasn't my best Quant Performance. But I wasn't too worried.

Felt fine went through the same break ritual.

Verbal Started fine. Nothing was too hard and again, for the most part, I was able to keep a good pace. Towards the end, I had about 10 minutes left and 6 Questions. Three of them came from my fourth RC. It was a nice and easy finance topic so I was able to get out of it with 5 minutes for 3 questions. I saw two CR's and one SC. I triaged one of the CR's. Made an educated guess on the second, and solved the last SC question with about 10 seconds to spare.

Score Comes up 550 (Q36 V29 IR5), needless to say, I canceled my score. I feel defeated and definitely in a lot of self-doubt. I have never worked so hard at something and sucked this bad. Over the last few months, I have disconnected myself from almost everything in my life such as family, friends, and hobbies. My ultimate goal is still to get a 700+ but for right now it feels like a pipe dream.

I think I am going to take a few weeks off and restrategize for a longer 3-month study plan. Hopefully, third time's the charm.

I apologize for the long post, but detailing my thoughts is really helpful.

Best of luck to all test takers out there, Never Give Up!
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GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: 550 Second Attempt.  [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2017, 12:48
Hi Navski,

Your descriptions of your 2 Official GMATs have a lot in common - and they certainly make it appear that you had the right mindset and "game plan" to score higher. Your 'routine' on both Test Days (and in the days leading up to those Test Days) also sound well-thought-out. This is all meant to say that you're properly handling certain aspects of this process. That having been said, since your Test Day Scores are again lower than your CAT scores, there are clearly some aspects to Test Day that were not accounted for during your studies. To start, you appear to have made some similar errors in terms of how you took your CATs this time around - at least 2 of your CATs were 'retakes' of CATs that you had already used (and those results are almost certainly 'inflated' and cannot be considered realistic). Your final CAT score also seems like a big 'outlier' (so I have to assume that the Q50 is also unrealistic).

Given the overall similarities in both of these experiences, and similar score results, I'm wondering if there's anything 'external' to Test Day that might have impacted your performance. Did you do anything "new"/different in the last 3 days before your Exam (or did you stop doing things that you would normally do?)? Did you travel, change medications, sleep in a different bed, cut back on smoking, etc?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: 550 Second Attempt.  [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2017, 14:26
Hi Rich,

My retakes were definitely inflated, but not by much. I went from (650-660) and from (610-620). Q50 is definitely an outlier a lot of the questions in that CAT played to my strengths.

The only reason I didn't do the other 3 GMAT Prep exams, is because I noted that my realistic range is probably between a 600-640. I didn't want to waste Official Material when I knew the results would be similar.

I didn't really do anything different, I used to play a lot of sports so I know how to get myself mentally prepared for an exam. I used Redbull and Snickers while studying, and cut it out 3 days before the exam, and then used it on Test Day. At no point during the exam was I phased or bothered by the clock. Ironically enough midway through Verbal Section, I thought this is my day, I am going to get an awesome score. I guess I was never able to pick up a Hot Streak of consecutive questions.

Any Ideas on what I should do next?
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
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Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 12425
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: 550 Second Attempt.  [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2017, 19:27
Hi Navski,

You might want to consider purchasing the Enhanced Score Report for your second GMAT. While the ESR doesn't contain too much information, the data in it is often enough to pinpoint a few specific areas that you need to work on. I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

If we're going to assume that there weren't any significant changes in your 'routine' for this second GMAT (from what you did during your first GMAT), then the potential causes for this second score result are limited. Using your initial Score 570/Q44/V24 as a baseline, you would have done really well on most of the 'math' questions that you faced in the Quant section, while making a few little mistakes and missing out on lots of 'strategy-based' points. The V24 means that you would have missed out on significant points in all 3 major Verbal categories (SC, RC and CR). Since you continued to study after that first GMAT, it's unlikely that you "forgot" how to do math over the last 6 weeks - but a Q36 means that you made little mistakes all throughout the Quant section of this second attempt. Since your ability level is clearly higher than a Q36 suggests, I would have to assume that you did a lot of work "in your head" (instead of writing everything down) and that's why you made those mistakes (in simple terms, that result has nothing to do with ability/intelligence - it was carelessness). The V29 shows that you improved some of your Verbal skills (and we can rule out fatigue as an overall factor in your performance) - although you likely still lost significant points in 2 of the 3 categories.

Beyond those points, I think that unrealistic CAT results gave you a false sense of your abilities for BOTH of these attempts. Those results, combined with a shorter-than-recommended study timeframe, have kept you from hitting your 'peak' - so far.

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

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Re: 550 Second Attempt. &nbs [#permalink] 11 May 2017, 19:27
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