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760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT

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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
RelSparty wrote:
Hi all,

I'm not exactly quite sure what happened. I feel frustrated, angry, helpless, and restless, and could use some guidance. Here's the story.

I've been preparing for the GMAT for about 2 and a half months. I took a Princeton Review 9 week course, which actually did help quite a bit with my verbal score. Outside of the Princeton Review course, I had also been doing problems from the OG 2020 guide, and one off questions from sources like Magoosh. I studied for roughly 1-1.5 hours per day on the weekdays and around 3-4 hours per day on the weekends. I started slowly, but made progress rather quickly, and felt that I was truly grasping the concepts and strategies that I was learning. Here is how my practice exams played out.

6/8/19: Princeton Review Exam #1 - Q33 V27 500

6/16/19: Princeton Review Exam #2 - Q37 V42 640

7/2/19: Princeton Review Exam #3 - Q43 V40 670

7/6/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #1 - Q32 V44 640 *ran out of time on Quant

7/13/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #2 - Q40 V42 680

7/19/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #3 - Q44 V42 710 *paused the exam in the middle of quant for a minute because I was exhausted

7/27/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #4 - Q48 V47 760 *taken in realistic testing conditions

As you can imagine, I was ecstatic with my last exam prep score. I reviewed each of my exams thoroughly, and while there certainly were some guesses on my exam, I figured that it would be almost impossible to guess my way to a 760. I had no reason to believe that it was a fluke. From what I've read, the actual score can vary +/- 40 points from the practice exams, so at worst I was expecting a 700-720 score based on this exam.

On my official exam, I fell flat on my face with a Q40 V41 660. I actually paid to move my exam date up a week, because I was so confident after my latest practice exam. On the day before the exam, I had unbelievable nerves and barely slept. I showed up to the testing center an hour early, and because they said they had a seat open, I said that I would start my exam early. What happened here?! I can't figure out if it was nerves, poor mental preparation (not warming my brain up), or if I actually did just get lucky on the 760.

I could tell as soon as I started the exam that something was off. Verbal is normally my strong suit, but all of the sentence corrections and CRs looked so foreign to me. Even the reading comprehension, which I ace on all of my practices took me forever to get through. I actually ended up running out of time on Verbal and had to guess on the last two questions. This had never happened to me in Verbal before.

Similar story in quant - I felt like so many of the questions felt so foreign and different to what I've seen so far on the official practice tests. I started hitting my groove around the middle, but around question 11 I hit a problem that stumped me and I ended up taking way too long on it. From that point on, I was running out of time, and while they weren't total guesses, I actually worked through very few of the remaining problems.

As soon as that 660 popped up on the screen, my stomach sunk. The first thing I wanted to do was re-take the exam right then and right there. I actually called GMAT and tried to get them to waive their 16 day minimum waiting period for re-takes. But they (rightfully) denied my request, so now I have to wait 2 and a half weeks for my second shot. Here is where I need your help:

1. What do you think happened? Why did my performance drop off so drastically?

2. Where do I go from here?

3. How do I get my confidence and mental peace back? I couldn't fall asleep last night after the exam, so I just stayed up until 1 in the morning doing practice problems until I couldn't see straight anymore. This exam has totally consumed me, and I can't believe I let it get the best of me. Any advice on how I can get my sanity is deeply appreciated.

You might feel nerves on exam day. It happens with most of the test takers.
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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
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Have you seen any of the questions you e countered on your official test before?

I am afraid the last gmat prep test Wasa fluke. 2 weeks earlier you had 680. It is unlikely to be able to improve so much in just 2 weeks at the end of your prep. Sorry

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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
Nerves and lack of sleep can wreck it all.

Its a test of mental endurance as much as it is of knowledge.

That is what i feel.

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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
1
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As mentioned, everyone is nervous on the test and everyone doesn’t get a good nights sleep before the test. I think the difference really comes in in terms of how one can handle pressure and performance under stress. While everyone may experience similar level of stress people may naturally perform very differently, And performance under pressure is usually something that’s outside of one’s immediate control. It’s hard to train for so there is some natural advantage ... I am thinking for people who naturally procrastinate and then scramble through their lives. ( this is only a wild theory of mine that has not been proven or verified)... But don’t worry because people who scramble, tend to under prepare so it is a level playing field at the end of the day

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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
Hi RelSparty,

I've sent you a PM with some additional notes and questions.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
1
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RelSparty wrote:
Hi all,

I'm not exactly quite sure what happened. I feel frustrated, angry, helpless, and restless, and could use some guidance. Here's the story.

I've been preparing for the GMAT for about 2 and a half months. I took a Princeton Review 9 week course, which actually did help quite a bit with my verbal score. Outside of the Princeton Review course, I had also been doing problems from the OG 2020 guide, and one off questions from sources like Magoosh. I studied for roughly 1-1.5 hours per day on the weekdays and around 3-4 hours per day on the weekends. I started slowly, but made progress rather quickly, and felt that I was truly grasping the concepts and strategies that I was learning. Here is how my practice exams played out.

6/8/19: Princeton Review Exam #1 - Q33 V27 500

6/16/19: Princeton Review Exam #2 - Q37 V42 640

7/2/19: Princeton Review Exam #3 - Q43 V40 670

7/6/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #1 - Q32 V44 640 *ran out of time on Quant

7/13/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #2 - Q40 V42 680

7/19/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #3 - Q44 V42 710 *paused the exam in the middle of quant for a minute because I was exhausted

7/27/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #4 - Q48 V47 760 *taken in realistic testing conditions

As you can imagine, I was ecstatic with my last exam prep score. I reviewed each of my exams thoroughly, and while there certainly were some guesses on my exam, I figured that it would be almost impossible to guess my way to a 760. I had no reason to believe that it was a fluke. From what I've read, the actual score can vary +/- 40 points from the practice exams, so at worst I was expecting a 700-720 score based on this exam.

On my official exam, I fell flat on my face with a Q40 V41 660. I actually paid to move my exam date up a week, because I was so confident after my latest practice exam. On the day before the exam, I had unbelievable nerves and barely slept. I showed up to the testing center an hour early, and because they said they had a seat open, I said that I would start my exam early. What happened here?! I can't figure out if it was nerves, poor mental preparation (not warming my brain up), or if I actually did just get lucky on the 760.

I could tell as soon as I started the exam that something was off. Verbal is normally my strong suit, but all of the sentence corrections and CRs looked so foreign to me. Even the reading comprehension, which I ace on all of my practices took me forever to get through. I actually ended up running out of time on Verbal and had to guess on the last two questions. This had never happened to me in Verbal before.

Similar story in quant - I felt like so many of the questions felt so foreign and different to what I've seen so far on the official practice tests. I started hitting my groove around the middle, but around question 11 I hit a problem that stumped me and I ended up taking way too long on it. From that point on, I was running out of time, and while they weren't total guesses, I actually worked through very few of the remaining problems.

As soon as that 660 popped up on the screen, my stomach sunk. The first thing I wanted to do was re-take the exam right then and right there. I actually called GMAT and tried to get them to waive their 16 day minimum waiting period for re-takes. But they (rightfully) denied my request, so now I have to wait 2 and a half weeks for my second shot. Here is where I need your help:

1. What do you think happened? Why did my performance drop off so drastically?

2. Where do I go from here?

3. How do I get my confidence and mental peace back? I couldn't fall asleep last night after the exam, so I just stayed up until 1 in the morning doing practice problems until I couldn't see straight anymore. This exam has totally consumed me, and I can't believe I let it get the best of me. Any advice on how I can get my sanity is deeply appreciated.

Hey Relsparty,

Along with the suggestions everyone has given, I would also like to suggest that you order your ESR from mba.com. This will help in understanding your weaknesses better.

Thanks
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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
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Hi

Perhaps you choose the wrong timing. Some people did best in the morning and so on. I heard some people got low 6xx because he took in the early morning. He then retook the exam in the afternoon and scored 7xx, which corresponds to his gmatprep score.

Identify best timing for yourself, how did you get great score for the gmatprep 3 and 4?

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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
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chondro48 wrote:
Hi

Perhaps you choose the wrong timing. Some people did best in the morning and so on. I heard some people got low 6xx because he took in the early morning. He then retook the exam in the afternoon and scored 7xx, which corresponds to his gmatprep score.

Identify best timing for yourself, how did you get great score for the gmatprep 3 and 4?

Posted from my mobile device

Good point!

All of the practice exams except for the last one (the 760) I took in the morning. The 760 I took at 12:00 pm, so that was definitely the ideal time for me.

The only available time for my actual exam was 11:00 am. I arrived about an hour early, and they said that there was a spot open for me, so I could get started right away if I wanted. I had nerves and I couldn't sit still at the testing center for an hour so I decided to just get started and ended up taking my exam around 10:20 am. I think you definitely have a point!
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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
Hi RelSparty,

Looking at your practice test scores as well as your actual GMAT score, things are not so bad my friend. If we exclude the score of your latest practice exam, your verbal and quant scores were pretty much inline with (or just slightly under) your practice test scores. So, put this test in the rearview mirror and focus on your plan moving forward.
It’s clear that quant dragged down your score. Thus, you need to spend time improving your quant skills prior to your next GMAT. Probably your current quant skills would get you a score higher than Q40 on a good day, and at the same time, it's likely that, when you took the GMAT, some weaknesses in your quant skillset were exposed.

Regarding verbal, while your verbal score on the actual test is relatively strong, it was lower than your verbal scores on recent practice tests. A likely reason for this difference is that the materials that you practiced with contained questions similar to the ones that appear on the GMAT Prep practice tests, while the actual GMAT contained verbal questions that were, while foundationally similar to the ones you practiced with, somehow different from ones that you had seen before. So, you were thrown off by those differences. Probably, to drive your verbal score higher, you have to work more on your foundational verbal skills, such as use of logic and execution skills, so that you become better prepared to answer questions that look somewhat different from any that you have seen before.

Overall, it seems likely that part of the explanation for the lower than expected score was just your nerves and your having an off day. Another part is that you were thrown off by the verbal questions. You won't be surprised by verbal questions that way a second time. I bet that, even if you were to just take the test again in couple weeks, you would score higher than you did this past time.

Still, in order to hit your score goal, probably you have to continue to train, finding and addressing weaknesses in quant and further developing your skill in analyzing and answering verbal questions.

With all this said, would you like some general advice on how to improve your skills? Also, can you give yourself more time to prep prior to retaking the GMAT?
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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
Let us know what you decide to do and when you decide to retake. Taking it at a better and more comfortable time should definitely help but I’m not sure that it will be worth 100 points but I would be very curious to hear the follow up. It could be a cool turnaround story. let us know what you decide to do and when you decide to retake. Taking it at a better and more comfortable time should definitely help but I’m not sure that it will be worth 100 points but I would be very curious to hear the follow up. It could be a cool turnaround story

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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
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Hey Scott,

Thank you for your encouraging words, that is really helpful. I think your analysis of the verbal section was especially spot on - the questions were a tiny bit different from what I was expecting, and that threw me off in a major way. The effect of that permeated the rest of the exam, which definitely drove my performance down. You were also spot-on in quant - I know I am capable of more than a Q40, but the exam definitely exposed my weakness in areas like Geometry. The only thing to do is here study more and get more practice.

I would love to get general advice on how to improve my skills, thank you very much. I am trying to re-take my exam as soon as I can, as I feel I am ready.

BB, thank you for your input as well! To answer your first question, I only saw one of the questions on my last practice exam previously, but I ended up getting that question wrong anyway. That's why I'm fairly confident that the 760 isn't a fluke. I tend to be someone who can perform 'in the clutch', but I think I hyped myself up a little too much for my first take and didn't get the adequate rest/mental preparation in for this exam. I'll definitely follow up in this thread and create a debrief as well once I hit the score I know I'm capable of.
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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
RelSparty wrote:
Hi all,

I'm not exactly quite sure what happened.

6/8/19: Princeton Review Exam #1 - Q33 V27 500

6/16/19: Princeton Review Exam #2 - Q37 V42 640

7/2/19: Princeton Review Exam #3 - Q43 V40 670

7/6/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #1 - Q32 V44 640 *ran out of time on Quant

7/13/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #2 - Q40 V42 680

7/19/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #3 - Q44 V42 710 *paused the exam in the middle of quant for a minute because I was exhausted

7/27/19: Official GMAT Practice exam #4 - Q48 V47 760 *taken in realistic testing conditions

On my official exam, I fell flat on my face with a Q40 V41 660. I actually paid to move my exam date up a week, because I was so confident after my latest practice exam. On the day before the exam, I had unbelievable nerves and barely slept. I showed up to the testing center an hour early, and because they said they had a seat open, I said that I would start my exam early. What happened here?! I can't figure out if it was nerves, poor mental preparation (not warming my brain up), or if I actually did just get lucky on the 760.

1. What do you think happened? Why did my performance drop off so drastically?

While I cannot psycholanalyze you over the net, I can offer some informed observations:

1. Leaving aside your Princeton Review scores which tend to be on the low side (as with Kaplan's), your official Prep tests show a consistent pattern of high 600s to low 700s. The last score (760) may be an outlier, but we need more data.

Combine these scores with your PR scores - assuming all were taken in realistic conditions - your actual score is not a surprise. It was to be expected.

2. The biggest issue seems to be that you allowed euphoria and perhaps high over-confidence to override caution.

Actual test day experience will be quite different from prep test experiences. Not only will you have to contend with natural anxiety, you will have to face daily issues such as travel, daily life problems, etc.

The series of actions that you took immediately preceding the test, e.g., bumping up the test date, etc. point to support for the above observation. Euphoria and combined over-confidence have potential to completely override our natural instincts.

I would urge prudent caution and subdued confidence leading to test day. Do not take drastic actions regardless of how attractive they may appear. Focus on preparation and facing the unknown. Enjoy the test experience if that is possible.
Good luck!
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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
Dear Rich/Scott,
This has pretty much been my story too including the portion of starting the GMAT an hour before the schedule. I scored Q47 and V33 in this third attempt of mine. Initially verbal was my forte. But lately in last 4 mocks (experts global) I have been struggling with my verbal section (Q36-->31) I'm not sure what the reason is. I'm also not sure what difference I should make in my approach towards verbal while I prepare for my next test. I am in dire need of guidance from an expert on this. Can you please help me out here??

Posted from my mobile device
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760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
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Aswinpratap wrote:
Dear Rich/Scott,
This has pretty much been my story too including the portion of starting the GMAT an hour before the schedule. I scored Q47 and V33 in this third attempt of mine. Initially verbal was my forte. But lately in last 4 mocks (experts global) I have been struggling with my verbal section (Q36-->31) I'm not sure what the reason is. I'm also not sure what difference I should make in my approach towards verbal while I prepare for my next test. I am in dire need of guidance from an expert on this. Can you please help me out here??

Posted from my mobile device

When studying Critical Reasoning, you need to ensure that you fully understand the essence of the various question types. Do you know the importance of an assumption within an argument? Can you easily spot a conclusion? Do you know how to resolve a paradox? Do you know how to properly evaluate cause and effect? Do you know how to properly weaken or strengthen an argument? These are just a few examples; you really need to take a deep dive into the individual Critical Reasoning topics to develop the necessary skills to properly attack any Critical Reasoning questions that you encounter.

As you learn each Critical Reasoning problem type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you incorrectly answered a Weaken the Argument question, 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.

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, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, the likely reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is that you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, to be successful in Sentence Correction, 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 less than 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 none of those reasons are that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answers were always the ones that sounded right, then most people most of the time would get Sentence Correction questions correct, without really knowing why the wrong answers were wrong and the correct answers were correct. So, you have to go beyond choosing what "sounds right" and learn to clearly see the logical reasons why one choice is better than all of the others.

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. Often, when you first look at the choices, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to put in the necessary time to see the differences between answers and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did to arrive at that answer and what you could do differently to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could do differently to extend your streak.

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’ll then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

Ultimately, if you are unable to learn and practice in the manner described above, you may consider looking for additional verbal prep resources. If you are unsure of which resources to choose, check out some reviews here on GMAT Club.

how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Good luck!

Originally posted by ScottTargetTestPrep on 06 Aug 2019, 19:05.
Last edited by ScottTargetTestPrep on 07 Aug 2019, 10:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
1
Kudos
Hi!

From the little I know:-
1) Since you have sored well in practice tests then you have the potential to get a score of 700 plus on the real GMAT.
2) It could be helpful to order an ESR (i.e. enhanced score report, if not bought already) from mba.com. You would get enough data points to work on. Then you may pose specific questions in this forum. Maybe we might be able to help you further with specific feedback.
3) Your question is a general question which many have posted in this forum. Maybe you might like to look at them as well.
4) Have a positive mindset about the exam. According to me, getting bogged down and feeling nervous and not sleeping well was the biggest contributor in your downfall. Tell yourself every morning and every evening and whenever you feel down, "GMAT is testing some core skills and nothing advanced. Just push yourself with the mantra, "If I can't, then no one can"."!!
5) Give at least one mock every week until your exam day. Spend more time in analyzing your results. Improve wherever possible. Develop and improve your timing strategy. There are ways to improve on this front, like (1) more practice under exam conditions or (2) strategically skipping few "above your ability level" questions in few seconds or (3) setting up your scratch pad before the exam to keep a track of time etc or many other strategies.
6) Official questions are like a gold mine. Solve them and learn from them. Analyze even those questions which you have got right. Analyze the wrong options of why they were wrong. Maintain an error log.
7) Develop a clear strategy on how to tackle each and every question type. This will help you in saving time.
8) For relaxing yourself try doing some meditation on a daily basis and eat very healthy food. Some physical exercise on a daily basis should also be helpful. Don't study too much just 1-2 days before the exam. Take control over your mind and be confident that you can do it!

I think I have shared a few pointers which might help you. I hope some other users will chip in with some other pointers which I have not touched upon.

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

Wishing you all the very best!! I hope you get your dream score!!

Regards,

Manish
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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
Hi Aswinpratap,

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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Re: 760 Official Practice --> 660 Actual GMAT [#permalink]
bb wrote:
Have you seen any of the questions you e countered on your official test before?

I am afraid the last gmat prep test Wasa fluke. 2 weeks earlier you had 680. It is unlikely to be able to improve so much in just 2 weeks at the end of your prep. Sorry

Posted from my mobile device

This is exactly what happened I think.