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  • GMATbuster's Weekly GMAT Quant Quiz, Tomorrow, Saturday at 9 AM PST

     December 14, 2018

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  • The winning strategy for 700+ on the GMAT

     December 13, 2018

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    What people who reach the high 700's do differently? We're going to share insights, tips and strategies from data we collected on over 50,000 students who used examPAL.

Asking for Advice and Encouragement

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New post 22 Nov 2018, 19:05
Hello!

I have been rigorously studying for the GMAT since mid-June. I used the Veritas Prep Program and it was extremely useful. I have gone through the OG, OG Verbal, and OG Quantitative books (both 2018 and 2019). I have gone through the Kaplan 2018 and 2019 Prep Book, along with their GMAT 800 book. I have been averaging 650 or so on my practice GMAT exams (which I have taken ALL in "test-like" structure... 7 from Veritas... 4 from Kaplan... 1 from Economist... 7 from GMAC... 6 from Princeton review... and roughly 5 or 6 from other various sites that I do not remember the names of). My highest total score has been a 690. For the universities I am trying to get into, I really only need a 640 or so to feel extremely confident. I am applying to Management Ph.D. programs (not MBA programs... I already graduated with my MBA).

I took my first GMAT on November 1st and scored a 520!! THAT WAS LOWER THAN EVEN MY LOWEST PRACTICE EXAM... (which was a 550). Granted, just a day before my exam (Oct. 31) I had found out my retired military working dog was going to have to be put down because he was diagnosed with metastasized liver cancer. So I thought: "Okay, this was obviously not a good indication of my ability. I will cancel this score." I canceled the score.

Came in on November 21st and scored a 540! STILL LOWER THAN MY LOWEST PRACTICE EXAM... I felt fine before the exam. I felt confident that I have adequately prepared. I took a couple of deep long breaths before my exam in case I was nervous subconsciously.

Keep in mind how frustrating this is for me. My husband and I talked about our lifestyle and finances and we decided I should quit my job so I could study full time in preparation for such an important exam. I have put in over 1000 hours studying, and that is being stringent in my calculations. I really feel like I have done an awesome job preparing. My timing is not messed up on my practice tests. I finish right in time on every section. I have taken so many practice tests that I don't feel like I get nervous at all for them. I made sure to understand the theoretical concepts being tested as well as applying them in problems. Every practice test I took, I went over EVERY QUESTION to ensure I was using the proper methods. I use the GMAT Club question banks and responses to find the best technique for me on different types of problems. Are there still some concepts that are not my best? Of course. I am not concerned with reaching 720+.

What I do not understand is WHY I am doing SO MUCH WORSE on the real exam than I am on my practice exams. If it was just 30 points? Okay. BUT 100-150 POINTS BELOW MY AVERAGE OR BEST?! That just does not seem right.

Can anyone explain what I should do? Anyone else had this experience too? I am at a loss of words and I am truly discouraged now. EXPERTS! PLEASE HELP A GIRL IN NEED. THIS FIRST GENERATION COLLEGE GIRL NEEDS HELP.

Sincerely,
PK
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New post 22 Nov 2018, 23:10
Hi Girl,

Being a woman (and a mother to an extremely naughty 2 year old boy), I can say that I understand your plight.
I was scoring above 700 in all the mocks but my son was uneasy the night before the actual exam. I took the default order in the exam getting 7 in IR and 49 in Quant. By the time I reached Verbal I was so tired from the night before that I gave up. Ended up getting 660.
what i mean to say is that one bad day is not a measure of our efforts. Do not give up. If you need help in any particular topic or even a subject as whole, speak up. Gmatclub is an amazing forum.
All the best mate :)
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New post 23 Nov 2018, 04:22
Hi paulakincaid2018

Welcome to Gmatclub!

It is indeed discouraging to see less than anticipated results, and in your case the difference is
substantially large. A beautiful psychological quote says: When you feel like doing nothing or can't seem
to find a solution to a problem, actually do nothing i.e. sit back and relax/take off your mind from the problems
your mind keeps lingering to. That shall help your mind to think out of the box.

Coming to your prep, it shall be more helpful if you could elaborate on mocks splits and the days
on which you took them? Did your actual exam timing vary when compared to the mocks? Lots of students do burn out by
taking too many mocks and it seems in your case, the improvement could have been substantial if you worked on your
weaker areas from one mock to another. We covered some of the best-known reasons for the drop in exam here and see if the post resonates with your dilemma.

I would also encourage you get an ESR (you can get the same, even for a cancelled score) and post the same for reviews
from VeritasKarishma AjiteshArun ScottTargetTestPrep GMATNinja EMPOWERgmatRichC on same space.
I see no reason for you not to be able to cross 700+ barrier and wish the very best for part-2 of the debrief.
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Re: Asking for Advice and Encouragement  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2018, 11:10
Hi paulakincaid2018,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as planned. When these types of score drops occur, the two likely "causes" involve either something that was unrealistic during practice or something that was surprising (or not accounted for) on Test Day. If you can answer a few questions, then we should be able to figure this out:

When you took your CATs:
1) On what dates did you take each of your CATs and what were your Scores on each (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores)? While assembling this data be a tedious task, this type of information helps to define patterns and potential 'procedural' issues in your schedule over the last several months.

2) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
3) Did you take them at home?
4) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
5) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
6) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE (re: on a prior CAT, in an online forum or in a practice set)?

You might also choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. While the ESR doesn't provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). You don't have to purchase the ESR for both of your Exams (just the most recent one would be fine). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 27 Nov 2018, 09:36
Hi paulakincaid2018,

I’m sorry to hear how things have been going with your GMAT. Before providing specific advice regarding your score drop, I’d like to learn a little more about your situation with the GMAT. Once you provide us with the score breakdowns and dates of your practice GMATs, I can provide some detailed advice.
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New post 27 Nov 2018, 12:33
Hello everyone. Thank you for your encouraging words. It's definitely been a rough couple of days mentally for me. This really has me upset. But I tried to find most of my practice tests with dates and breakdowns and I have included them below. Please see those as well as my ESRs from my canceled score of 520 and my score of 540. I removed personal data from the PDFs. If anyone has suggestions on certain tests to go back and review (which I have already reviewed them all but I will gladly do it again to see which concepts were my weak points) and taking the GMAT ESRs into consideration, please let me know.

PK
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New post 27 Nov 2018, 23:17
Hi paulakincaid2018,

To start, 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 - and your last CAT should be taken about 1 week before Test Day. In the 9 weeks before your 1st GMAT, you took 18 CATs which is about DOUBLE the number of CATs that you should have taken. As such, there's a reasonable chance that you experienced some 'burn out' on Test Day (and you might not have properly recovered before your 2nd attempt).

Before we discuss the data in your ESRs, I would like to know a bit more about your CATs. While I don't expect you to describe each of your CATs in detail, I would like to know whether there were any general patterns about how you took your CATs:

1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
2) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
3) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
4) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE (re: on a prior CAT, in an online forum or in a practice set)?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

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Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
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www.empowergmat.com/

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New post 28 Nov 2018, 06:48
Hi, Rich! Thank you for the response.
1) in the beginning, I was not taking the entire test. I always have my order represented in verbal-quant-IR-AWA.
2) the practice cats that I took were started any time between 9am and 11am. The times did vary slightly. The best time I perform test wise, is starting roughly around 10:00am. The only times the real GMAT tests are offered at the testing center are either at: 8am, 12pm, or 3pm. For my first GMAT in the testing center, I took it at 8am and the second GMAT was at 12pm (noon). I personally like testing early in the morning better.
3) no, I did them all the same: I skipped my 8 minutes breaks and never paused the exams or did anything differently than I would have for the real exam.
4) no, I did not retake any practice tests or run into any questions that I had previously answered.

The reason why I continued to take so many practice tests was because I didn’t want to forget the feel of the pacing or take a chance on forgetting any material that i might have learned. (Or any tricks)

Let me know what you think.

PK

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New post 29 Nov 2018, 05:30
Sorry if I confused anyone with posting under my old GMAT account. Apparently when I used the GMAT Club app on my phone to respond in the forum, it was logged in to my old GMAT Club account. When I got married, I switched all of my accounts over to my new email and for GMAT club, I had forgotten that I actually created an account versus just viewing the forums as a guest. I actively use the paulakincaid2018 account so if anyone has any messages, you can send it to that account. :)

PK

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Re: Asking for Advice and Encouragement &nbs [#permalink] 29 Nov 2018, 05:30
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