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590 (GMAT Prep) to 660 (Q44, V38) - Retaking soon

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Joined: 16 Sep 2012
Posts: 11
GMAT 1: 660 Q44 V37
590 (GMAT Prep) to 660 (Q44, V38) - Retaking soon  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 16 Oct 2017, 23:04
Background:
After years of wanting to take the GMAT, it has become a beast I want to slay. Clearly, with a score of 660 I didn't slay it. But the experience was interesting. I got to learn a lot about myself and the test. Just as fyi, I am 33. I say this because I feel that this has made me wiser in many ways but definitely slowed down those cells that do the fast arithmetic. I signed up for the test knowing I will give it twice so the need for a retake is not really discouraging.

Insights:
Preparation:
1. I assumed that as always I was better at Verbal and not as good in Quant. Boy, was the first GMAT Prep test a rude awakening - 590 - with a Q43 and V28. Realized I had a lot of work to do with verbal.
2. So the prep started with covering basics of verbal - a lot of MGMAT verbal guides, OG and Gmat Clubs questions in both verbal and quant later, I got to 650 on the second and last GMAT prep taken 6 months later. This one gave me a 47 in Quant and 33 in Verbal with my time in the verbal section increasing drastically - I rushed through the last 10 questions getting most of them wrong!
3. The day before the actual GMAT, I realized that when I had started off I actually had time left towards the end of the verbal section. But here I was rushing through the last 10 questions. This led me to understand that as opposed to when I started off, when I would select an answer and move on to the next question, all the extra verbal preparation was making me go through each and every answer option, confusing me, making me spend those extra seconds trying to figure the correct answer. Don't get me wrong. Going through all the answer options is invaluable with some kind of questions, especially with the CR questions strengthen/weaken questions. But unnecessary for most of the SC, and other CR questions. Pre-thinking really helps with this. You pre-think, go through the answer options, hit the right one and select it and move on. The remaining answer options don't need to be read. I applied that to the GMAT test and it at least got me to finish the section within the stipulated time.
4. With the new option to select the order of the sections, I changed strategy. Since I was sure that I would loose the first few seconds just unfreezing my brain, I was more comfortable starting off with the verbal section. This backfired. More below.

Test Day:
1. I have read in numerous debriefs to take the test at a time when one is at his/her peak performance. With my passport expiring, I did not have this luxury. I took the test a day before the passport expired and booked myself for a morning slot. Since I am a night owl, I hardly got any sleep the previous night but fell fresh enough to take the exam.
2. I went through the verbal section confidently. I must have been doing a good job, had an RC passage where the answer options were longer than the passage itself. No kidding - the right side of the page was longer than the left! When I saw this, it drained the remaining energy. I glanced through the answers and moved on.
3. I did get lucky once (I hope!). Had read a debrief which said that the experimental questions can be easy to spot some times. I got one, as part of an RC passage, which said something about the highlighted section but there was nothing in the passage that was highlighted. I wanted to raise my hand (like that would have achieved anything) but remembered the debrief and realized that this must be an experimental question, so chose an answer and moved on.
4. After the verbal section - I must say I can never seem to really gauge how well or poorly I am doing on the GMAT - during the break, I wanted to use the restroom. There was a line ahead of me with the same idea! Checked with the administrator on how much time I had left and decided to wait my turn. Once I got out, getting back into the test room took me a bit more than expected - the palm vein scans, the administrator having to accompany you back into the room and logging in to your machine - ate up a few seconds and I ended up using 4 seconds of my Quant time.
5. Losing those 4 seconds did not affect me in any way but for some reason, once I saw the first question, my brain just would not work. I remember how simple a question it was but nope the brain just refused to do anything. I remember eating up precious minutes just on the first question. I still managed to get myself moving but I was quite taken aback by the lack of brain response on that first one. Later, I came to realize that that was because my brain was fatigued. I may not want to admit it but that is the only thing that explains it.
6. After another break with the swig of red bull and a nibble of the energy bar, I was back in time. I felt fine but IR was pathetic. I knew I was messing it but couldn't do much about it. Ended up with a 2! Beat that.
7. Awaiting my AWA score. Curious to know if I did decently in that. I could write an essay with the required structure and tone but with no where the flair that I am used to.

Learnings/Tips:
I am actually in a happy place. I knew I would take the test twice and I am glad with how, in spite of how I was unable to think of ways to answer certain questions, I was still able to keep my cool. Given that I am not a whiz in math, I can probably push my quant score up to about 47 but there sure is scope for the verbal to improve. So verbal, here I come!
1. Build stamina - Any time I sit down to prep now, I make it for 1.5 hours straight. Plan to make it for 4 hours with 2 breaks of 8 minutes each.
2. More mocks - under test conditions; at the time I intend to give the actual one.
3. Decide beforehand on the order - I think I am going to do quant first and then move on to verbal. The initial brain freeze that I was afraid of did not happen on the actual exam.
4. Get some sleep the night before!
5. On a philosophical note, I think it is important to be in the present in the GMAT. Take every question as it comes, solve it, and move on. Don't over think, don't try to guess if the CAT is raising your bar or lowering it.
6. Confidence is key. For me, if I start second guessing every answer, not only do I lose time, I end up choosing the wrong answers more often than not (especially the case with verbal).
7. Use GMAT club - Through my journey this far and I am sure going forward, GMAT club has been a saviour. It has been the source of much inspiration, motivation and encouragement.

Wish me luck, guys!

PS: Issues With Registering For GMAT:
I was not as well planned as I would have liked to be - think I booked the slot 6 days in advance. So things were a bit rushed. But here are a few issues I went through.
1. Middle name missing from profile: I lost quite a few precious hours and peace of mind to this. I had registered on MBA. com a long time back - probably some 8 years back. I saw that my middle name was missing. I was not sure if I had not mentioned it while registering (highly unlikely) or if it was a backend issue. So I created a new profile with a different email address with my middle name. Next day the middle name vanishes from that too. I had already been mailing GMAT customer care regarding another issue with no response. When I reached out to the exam center, they said that as long as the first name and last name match the passport, it should not be a problem. But I wanted this in writing from some one. With time running out and wanting to get back to my prep, I reached out to the Pearson guys who responded 3 days later. I ran out of patience much before then and was about to call their US number when I saw the online chat option. Big help! Got all my questions answered in one sitting. The agent assured me that as long as the first name and last name is exactly as mentioned in my passport, its all good. I felt reassured and got back to my studying
2. Unable to change other details on profile: While filling my profile, my understanding was that except for the name, DOB, I would be able to change the other details. So I did not fill in too much information about my experience thinking I will get back to it after I book my slot since one had suddenly come up. Once I booked the slot and went back to the profile, I was unable to make any changes. It did not matter much to me but it may to others.
In short, please do fill in the correct information right at the start and check back to see if everything is as you had originally mentioned. And, of course, try to do all this well in advance.

Originally posted by asachi on 16 Oct 2017, 11:25.
Last edited by asachi on 16 Oct 2017, 23:04, edited 1 time in total.
Senior PS Moderator
Joined: 26 Feb 2016
Posts: 3302
Location: India
GPA: 3.12
Re: 590 (GMAT Prep) to 660 (Q44, V38) - Retaking soon  [#permalink]

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16 Oct 2017, 12:33
1
Hi asachi,

Welcome to GMATClub!
A 70 point improvement is definitely a step in the right direction!

I would recommend you to do the 2 things to crack this test
(since you goal score is so close)
1. Read this post - Q44->50
2. Subscribe for the GMATClub tests(The Quant section is really good)
It will surely equip you for all/most of the traps that GMAT plays with and I don't
see why you wouldn't increase your score to Q49 or 50.
Assuming that you can manage to repeat the Verbal performance again, you will
be looking at a 700+ score.

Hope that helps you!

P.S Continue practicing 700+ level questions on the forum for Verbal as even a
small increase will definitely boost your overall score!
_________________

You've got what it takes, but it will take everything you've got

Intern
Joined: 28 Oct 2016
Posts: 4
Location: India
GMAT 1: 580 Q46 V23
GPA: 2.75
Re: 590 (GMAT Prep) to 660 (Q44, V38) - Retaking soon  [#permalink]

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16 Oct 2017, 13:51
I can totally relate to the brain freeze. Had the test today. Started off with verbal, thinking I'd use my "fresh brain" for my strongest area. But boy did that logic flip! Ended up with a 580 even though I've been averaging 730 in the mocks..

I realised from this test experience that I need to prime my brain. Doing a few questions an hour before the exam did raise my confidence but for some unexplainable reason, I just froze at the first question. Couldn't make sense of a simple sentence despite reading it multiple times.In fact I was really tempted to just walk away. I decided to sit through it only for the experience.

My brain Finally did thaw mid way through the quant section.. So lesson learnt is that giving a comparatively non essential section such as IR and AWA, in the beginning, may help you overcome the inertia. However, if you tend to get fatigued towards the end, with an equivalent result, you might want to push the essentials to the front.

Sent from my SM-N920G using GMAT Club Forum mobile app
Intern
Joined: 16 Sep 2012
Posts: 11
GMAT 1: 660 Q44 V37
Re: 590 (GMAT Prep) to 660 (Q44, V38) - Retaking soon  [#permalink]

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16 Oct 2017, 22:25
Thanks a tonne, pushpitkc! I honestly did not think I would be able to hit a 49/50 in Quant but I had not read bb's thread that you suggested - this is a good boost. Yes, I do intend to take up the gmat club tests shortly. I have taken it previously and found it very helpful.

Thanks again!
Intern
Joined: 16 Sep 2012
Posts: 11
GMAT 1: 660 Q44 V37
Re: 590 (GMAT Prep) to 660 (Q44, V38) - Retaking soon  [#permalink]

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16 Oct 2017, 22:36
Ouch, njabraham85! That must hurt after your scores in the mocks. I am convinced on doing the IR/AWA in the end. I think I was doing verbal first because it has always been a strong area for me. I think I will do one more test with verbal first. Before that I plan to train this brain to think not have an option of getting fatigued. I read one debrief where the member said that he turned into an 'answering zombie' during the GMAT! I intend to do that - no past, no future, just the GMAT question and me!
Intern
Joined: 25 Aug 2017
Posts: 33
Re: 590 (GMAT Prep) to 660 (Q44, V38) - Retaking soon  [#permalink]

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19 Oct 2017, 15:16
Thanks for posting your tips. I'm in the same boat and will need to take the GMAT for the 3rd time. I actually did slightly worse on my second attempt, but I believe it was because I went into the test stressed and burned out. Make sure to keep a healthy body and mind during your next round! Best of luck!
Re: 590 (GMAT Prep) to 660 (Q44, V38) - Retaking soon &nbs [#permalink] 19 Oct 2017, 15:16
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