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680 to 670 in mock after a month of studying, what went wrong?

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680 to 670 in mock after a month of studying, what went wrong?  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2018, 12:01
I did an official mock test a month ago after completing the entire OG and got 680. I was a little disappointed but thought I still had time to study so I was not too concerned back then.

For the past 1 month I reviewed all Manhattan quant and verbal guides and bought the 2019 OG Verbal book and finished all CR and SC questions, and was able to get 91% of the questions correct for CR, and 80% of SC correct, up from 54% when I did the OG. I then bought the official questions pack online and was doing quant questions online, choosing 31 questions in each attempt, with 3 easy DS and PS questions each, and 7 medium questions each and 5/6 hard questions each. I was able to finish well ahead of time (40+ mins average) and got roughly about 6 qns wrong each time, often only the hardest. Granted it's not ideal and will not guarantee a Q50/51 but I was pretty contempt since I've been struggling with maths and I'd be happy to get a Q49, or Q50 if I'm lucky.

My test is next Monday (6th Aug) and I thought I'd do another mock before that and to my surprise not only did I not improve, my score dropped from 680 to 670 (Q47, V35) as compared to Q47, V36 the previous time. The most disappointing part was that I almost couldn't finish the verbal questions in time, as compared to last time when I had 4 minutes to spare and got a higher mark. I got 13 out of the 36 questions wrong, well below my practice percentages, and it's not because of time as I've timed myself when I was doing the practices and was able to solve most questions within 2 mins, if not faster. The only upside seemed to be I got a much higher mark for IR.

I'm really panicking right now since I'd need a minimum of 720 to get into my preferred school. I was hoping I'd at least improve on the previous score (especially for verbal) and see where my weak areas are at but I never thought my scores would drop. What should I do? Please help :(
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Re: 680 to 670 in mock after a month of studying, what went wrong?  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2018, 12:58
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Hi nilsinelabore,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your 2 CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 680 +/- a few points). While it sounds like you've worked through lots of practice questions, this second CAT result shows that you continue to 'see' (and respond to) the GMAT in the same general ways. You're actually closer to a 720+ than you probably realize, but to pick up those missing points, you'll have to make some changes to how you handle both the Quant and Verbal sections.

"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?

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680 to 670 in mock after a month of studying, what went wrong?  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2018, 13:32
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi nilsinelabore,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your 2 CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 680 +/- a few points). While it sounds like you've worked through lots of practice questions, this second CAT result shows that you continue to 'see' (and respond to) the GMAT in the same general ways. You're actually closer to a 720+ than you probably realize, but to pick up those missing points, you'll have to make some changes to how you handle both the Quant and Verbal sections.

"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?

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


Hi Rich,

Thanks so much for the prompt and detailed reply. I admit I wasn't at my best today, doing the test right after I finished 31 quant questions which was pretty exhausting and I skipped dinner as well, if that matters.

In general I was too rushed with each question and often when I'm half way through I realised I was doing it wrong, either because I didn't read the question carefully or approached it in a wrong way. But to answer your questions:

1) There were at least 6,7 wrong answers that could have been avoided
2) Yes there were indeed some quant questions that I've consistently struggled with, for example remainder questions, and I got that one wrong
3) I'd say there are a few quant questions I found difficult, at the difficulty level that I've been struggling with during my practices, but for verbal it was much less so
4) By the time I realised that I had way too little time for the remaining verbal questions, I was down to my last 12 or so. I had to rush through the last 6 and I got 3 of them wrong
5) I have a few questions that I've narrowed them down to 2 choices but got them wrong, mostly in verbal

Upon reviewing the time that I spent for each type of questions, I realised that I took way too much time for CR questions. I figured it was probably due to the fact that I was not at my sharpest and I had to re-read the question multiple times and I still missed some key words.

I've been pretty stressed out for the last few days, as I was planning my MBA applications while working and studying at the same time. I pulled an all nighter just the day before yesterday and I can feel that my brain was not functioning properly. Given that I have only 3 full days left, what should I do? Should I do another mock to see if this was just a bad attempt (maybe getting a better score can restore my confidence), or do some quant questions and hope for the best in the actual exam?

Thanks so much.
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Re: 680 to 670 in mock after a month of studying, what went wrong?  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2018, 22:49
nilsinelabore wrote:
Upon reviewing the time that I spent for each type of questions, I realised that I took way too much time for CR questions. I figured it was probably due to the fact that I was not at my sharpest and I had to re-read the question multiple times and I still missed some key words.

I've been pretty stressed out for the last few days, as I was planning my MBA applications while working and studying at the same time. I pulled an all nighter just the day before yesterday and I can feel that my brain was not functioning properly. Given that I have only 3 full days left, what should I do? Should I do another mock to see if this was just a bad attempt (maybe getting a better score can restore my confidence), or do some quant questions and hope for the best in the actual exam?

Thanks so much.
If you can get a 670 in that state, I'd like to see what you're really capable of. Leaving that aside, I think it's a good idea for you to take another test to increase your confidence levels, as long as you aren't still in the same condition that you described in your post and are not still making the compromises (sleep/food) that you mentioned. If you're planning to take either quant or verbal first (you should be), just click through IR and AWA on your practice test.
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Re: 680 to 670 in mock after a month of studying, what went wrong?  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2018, 01:53
AjiteshArun wrote:
nilsinelabore wrote:
Upon reviewing the time that I spent for each type of questions, I realised that I took way too much time for CR questions. I figured it was probably due to the fact that I was not at my sharpest and I had to re-read the question multiple times and I still missed some key words.

I've been pretty stressed out for the last few days, as I was planning my MBA applications while working and studying at the same time. I pulled an all nighter just the day before yesterday and I can feel that my brain was not functioning properly. Given that I have only 3 full days left, what should I do? Should I do another mock to see if this was just a bad attempt (maybe getting a better score can restore my confidence), or do some quant questions and hope for the best in the actual exam?

Thanks so much.
If you can get a 670 in that state, I'd like to see what you're really capable of. Leaving that aside, I think it's a good idea for you to take another test to increase your confidence levels, as long as you aren't still in the same condition that you described in your post and are not still making the compromises (sleep/food) that you mentioned. If you're planning to take either quant or verbal first (you should be), just click through IR and AWA on your practice test.


Hi Ajitesh,

Thanks for the feedback. I was planning to take AWA and IR first on the actual test, as I often get really nervous at the start (got the first quant qn wrong!), and tend to warm up a little bit after a while. But to your point I can see why it makes more sense to do quant or verbal first, as after 2 hours you tend to wear off by quite a bit.

I will do another CAT today and hopefully my scores will improve, just trying to be hopeful and lower my expectations a little bit, who knows :)
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Re: 680 to 670 in mock after a month of studying, what went wrong?  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2018, 11:49
Hi nilsinelabore,

Most people do their best thinking in the first 4-5 hours of the day. From what you describe, you took this last CAT at NIGHT - after a full day of activities, including working on a bunch of practice questions AND skipping dinner. There's no possible way that you could have been at your 'best' at that point in the day, so the fact that you did not score higher is not too surprising. From a certain point of view, it's actually encouraging - since you were able to perform at a relatively high level even under these less-than-ideal circumstances. That having been said, the result still points out that your 'default' ways of thinking about the GMAT have not changed yet - and those changes will be necessary for you to consistently score at the 720+ level.

Since you're so close to Test Day, you really should NOT take another CAT. The process of taking (and reviewing) a CAT requires a significant amount of energy and effort - and takes time to 'recover' from. This is one of the reasons why you typically shouldn't take more than 1 CAT per week. In these last few days, you should try to relax a bit and limit your studies to general review and practice (NO CATs and NO 'cramming'). You'll be better served by getting some extra rest so that you can go into Test Day calm, clear-headed and ready to work.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: 680 to 670 in mock after a month of studying, what went wrong?  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2018, 11:57
Hi nilsinelabore,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Given the state you were in when taking your latest practice test, that you still were able to score a 670 is a positive sign. Since your exam is in just 3 days, I honestly don’t recommend doing too much. At this point, taking another CAT or trying to cram in new information will hurt more than it will help.

Since you clearly have been putting a lot of stress on yourself, the best thing you can do is keep your head fresh for test day. Do anything you can to keep your mind off your upcoming exam.The calmer and more carefree you are when you walk into the GMAT, the better you will perform on the exam.

Please follow up after your GMAT and let us know how things end up.

Good luck!
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