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After practice test, what should I do in terms of better test taking?

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After practice test, what should I do in terms of better test taking?  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Nov 2016, 07:08
I videotaped myself taking the test and noticed I held the pen in my hand a lot.

What kind of habits are prevalent in the best test takers?

Do they always write down elimination or never leave their hand from the mouse.

Right now, my situation for the GMAT is "near impossible", as some tutors say. I have an exam on November 30 and need to raise a GRE converted to GMAT score of 440 to at least 660. My practice GRE was a 520 yesterday.
Given I have 14 days and an assessment, I thought I would cut corners and only practice the hardest problems (GMAT 800 or ones I get wrong on practice) and use flashcards for formulas and strategies.
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Re: After practice test, what should I do in terms of better test taking?  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Nov 2016, 11:50
Hi arrowinfedex,

Given your implied score goal, and the limited time that you have remaining before your Test Date, you will likely have to retake the GRE at a later date. Right now, you do NOT need to be focused on the 'hardest problems', since you're clearly missing points on easier, 'gettable' questions. Before I can offer you any additional advice on how best to proceed, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied?
2) What materials have you used?
3) How have you scored on each of your MSTs (including the Quant and Verbal Scores)?

Goals:
4) What is your goal score?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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New post 16 Nov 2016, 12:14
Thanks for the reply, but I know that I don't have time to retake since I already had an interview and that's why I need the 660.
To answer your questions, so that you and others can give the best feedback on how to use the right strategy.
Studies:
1) I studied for an accumulative 100 hours including from GRE, and have another 70-100 to go.
2) For the GMAT, I just took a practice, and rented the Manhattan RC, and SC books along with Kaplan 800. I also signed up for the online test, and free live video lessons for questions.
3) Out of 520, 38 Quant and 23 Verbal.

Goals:
4) My Goal score is a perfect quant, and a decent Verbal, so 600-700.
5) The reason I posted is because I had the interview with some goals and submitted the application, and both said they need to have a better score to get full consideration in financial aid and more.
6) MIT, Oxford (reach) PSU, Drexel, Temple, RIT and if I do really good on GMAT I'll apply insead and another reach.

I can't be in the forums all day, I don't bullshit and didn't use any resources besides a book for my GRE and got average. In fact, I didn't even study math, and probably won't because I have to cut corners and even my verbal. So if you try to give me a one size fits all solution, you're wasting your time. 800 is relevant for verbal, but it's arguable.
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Re: After practice test, what should I do in terms of better test taking?  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2016, 09:26
arrowinfedex wrote:
Given I have 14 days and an assessment, I thought I would cut corners and only practice the hardest problems (GMAT 800 or ones I get wrong on practice) and use flashcards for formulas and strategies.



That is definitely the wrong approach. Why? Because at your score level near 500 -- you will never even get difficult level questions. What you should focus on is on the easy/medium level questions. Make sure you get those right! Don't make stupid mistakes - and that includes misreading the question -- if they ask for what is x+5 -- don't just solve for x and forget to add 5. Stuff like that.

If you'd like additional practice questions, we recommend checking out: www.gmatpill.com/gmat-practice-test/
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New post Updated on: 02 Dec 2016, 09:46
The outcome was about a 430 (15 - V, 35 - Q )

Any suggestions of how to improve timing on Verbal?

Originally posted by arrowinfedex on 01 Dec 2016, 08:39.
Last edited by arrowinfedex on 02 Dec 2016, 09:46, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 01 Dec 2016, 11:21
How to Choose a Reliable Printer? with so many choices available in the market help me to choose a reliable printer for my daily needs. I have heard Ricoh printers are far better than other available in the market. Can anyone help with their feedback!!
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New post 02 Dec 2016, 08:32
Why are you switching from GRE to GMAT?

With your current score of 520 with Quant at 15, you would fair better in the math section in GRE and verbal might be a bit easier rather than GMAT.

GMAT Math is a bit tougher and also with the scores mentioned, it would be better if you took the GRE as a low score wouldnt likely affect their school average as they only factor in GMAT score in school ranking.
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New post 02 Dec 2016, 09:48
^^ The Quant was 35, and the GMAT is more math based. I actually preferred the GRE because it was vocab and the GMAT was grammar :/

The school recommended I take the GMAT, and I wanted to retake it for a better score. I guess not!
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Re: After practice test, what should I do in terms of better test taking?  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Dec 2016, 10:58
Hi arrowinfedex,

From your original posts, it was clear that your decisions were deadline-driven. Now that you have an Official Score that is over 200 points from your goal, you have to consider alternatives to your current plan. If the Schools that you're applying to require a significantly higher score, then you have to put in the necessary work to earn that higher score (and that work cannot be 'rushed' or 'crammed'). In addition, you will have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections (content knowledge, pattern-matching, Tactics, pacing, etc.). Based on this Official Score, you will likely need at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study to hit your score goal and you will likely need to invest in some new practice materials. Remember that the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam though - so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

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Re: After practice test, what should I do in terms of better test taking?  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Dec 2016, 12:55
arrowinfedex wrote:
^^ The Quant was 35, and the GMAT is more math based. I actually preferred the GRE because it was vocab and the GMAT was grammar :/

The school recommended I take the GMAT, and I wanted to retake it for a better score. I guess not!


Oh my apologies. Well if the school recommended that you take the GMAT then you should. I think you can do it! Just keep at it.
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New post 12 Sep 2018, 09:24
Hi arrowinfedex,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. At this point, since you are still 200 points from your score goal, you do not need to be concerned about micro-issues such as how you are holding your pen. The first order of business is for you to start following a sound, thorough, and linear study plan, so you can begin to improve your GMAT quant and verbal skills. A linear study plan will allow you to slowly build GMAT mastery of one topic prior to moving on to the next. Within each topic, begin with the foundations and progress toward more advanced concepts.

For example, if you are learning about Number Properties, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better.

When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see and types that you would rather not see, and types of questions that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

You can work on verbal in a similar manner. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual Critical Reasoning topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each Critical Reasoning question type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type of question. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, 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.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and instead focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and thereby comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage. Furthermore, as you practice Reading Comprehension, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect Reading Comprehension answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. You can perfect your reading strategy with a lot of practice. However, keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to tackle such passages, begin reading magazines with similar content and style, such as the Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

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, it is likely that you will have to work on all three of those aspects, and it is also likely that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved because 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 really a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning the 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. Likely, the main reason that Sentence Correction has not "clicked" for you is that you have not put enough work into developing your skill in seeing what is going on in the various versions of the sentence that the answer choices create. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending under 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 in the sentence clearly refer to nouns in the sentence? 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 those reasons are not 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 answer were always the one 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 in a Sentence Correction question, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. It may take time for you to see what you have to see. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to be determined to see the differences and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you are answering Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. For instance, 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 that resulted in your arriving at that answer and what you could do differently in order 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 have done 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 Sentence Correction skills improve, you will then want to practice with Sentence Correction questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

So, work on accuracy and generally finding correct answers, work on specific weaker areas one by one to make them strong areas, and when you take a practice GMAT or the real thing, take all the time per question available to do your absolute best to get right answers consistently. The GMAT is essentially a game of seeing how many right answers you can get in the time allotted. Approach the test with that conception in mind, and focus intently on the question in front of you with one goal in mind: getting a CORRECT answer.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some new verbal and quant materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions.

Good luck!
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