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Choked, time to re-evaluate....

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Joined: 14 Jul 2005
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Choked, time to re-evaluate.... [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2005, 18:02
Hi Everyone,

This was the post I was dreading. I don't know what happened today. I scored 500 on the GMAT, 10 points below my dreadful Kaplan diagnostic score: 510. I'm actually reading the fine print now to get my refund back for their HSG.

After the initial shock of getting my score back, I am starting to calm down; I felt like I had been punched in the gut after looking up at the screen and seeing 500. It's funny, I can't remember the last time I've felt so awful and defeated as I did today walking out of the test center. I'm really really just trying to keep positive right now. I want to say that this site is great, reading the other posts keep my spirit up so I'm hoping to hear from you all.

A co-worker of my best friend scored a 500 on his first real GMAT but then four weeks later came back and scored a 720. I can't help but feel that I can do better as well, definitely not a 720 but at least as good as some of my practice tests that ranged up to 620. I just don’t get it; from the middle of May until the middle of June I studied for about an hour each night, taking practice tests throughout. Then I studied for about an hour and a half each night after my Kaplan course ended in the middle of July until now. I even took a day off work each week for five weeks up until the test taking a practice test and studying for the entire day. How could this happen? I think I seriously just choked, at least that’s what I’m telling myself to keep from feeling like a complete failure.

Here is my problem, I am going to take the test again because I've invested too much time into this already and I know I can do better however I have no idea what kind of strategy to employ to study and how to improve my weaknesses.

First, during my preparation for this I went through the OG and completed a large portion of the Kaplan online work my classroom course offered. So I have depleted my initial resources. I don't know what other training materials I should purchase.

Second, I'm having trouble identifying my weak areas. I know that SC was always trouble for me. Difficult DS questions were also difficult for me. I felt that I had a hold on PS because I would traditionally get 80 percent of the PS practice problems in the OG correct out of a set of around 15. However after today's test I just don't know. Number properties were always difficult for me but all in all I have the ratio, geometry, percentage, and probability fundamentals memorized. And as far as the OG went, I had a good handle on CR and RC. Obviously not as good as I thought however based on today's performance. Also, I'm not sure if I just plain choked. I took a total of 8 tests and today's score was the second lowest out of all of them. I was able to score a 620 on the non CAT Kaplan tests but my highest on the Kaplan CAT tests was only 540. All of my friends knew I was taking the test today and I kept thinking about how bad it would be if I had to tell them I bombed it. Maybe that just psyched me out.

Third, I don't know how to efficiently organize my schedule to maximize improvement. I was going to visit home for Labor Day weekend, and then I have a week long vacation planned in September that I've been planning for months. Therefore, taking the GMAT again in the next four weeks probably wouldn't allow for the amount of time to study I assume I need after today's debacle.

Right now my gut is telling me to take time off until my vacation in September is over, during the interim collect more study materials, and submit my 'refund' for the HSG from Kaplan (oh that feels so awful to write but I guess on a 'glass is half empty' note at least I dipped below my diagnostic rather then get a terrible score that's just over my diagnostic score so I'm eligible for the refund). Then register to take the test again some time in November or December. During this time from the end of September until my test date I would take a test each week analyze my results and study my weaknesses for about an hour each day provided I can access practice GMAT tests for MAC and more study materials. Incidentally does anyone out there know of a good source for MAC compatible online GMAT study materials?

At any rate, thanks for reading this long post. I'm trying to keep my head up but encouragement/thoughts would greatly help.
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New post 15 Aug 2005, 21:07
I agree with the "half full" part- at least now you can get your money back from Kaplan.

In general, scores in the 500 range occur as a result of two main causes

1) The student never really mastered the core constructs
2) Exogenous factors (e.g. sickness) prevented the student from expressing her knowledge

Do you feel that you fall under 1) or 2)?
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New post 16 Aug 2005, 01:43
With my experience of taking GMAT - I strongly believe that one needs to be in the right frame of mind for the test! This is the only key to beat this beast.

I would recommend that over the next few days/weeks, you spend a good amount of time in introspection - think about why you failed. Think about what was going on in your head when you were giving your test - were you too anxious to get to the end of the test? were you too
over-confident? did you manage your time well? did you do the same as you were doing in your practice tests? what was your best score in the practice tests and under what situations did you reach that score?etc

As Hjrot mentioned, carefully analyze to see if you have any flawed fundamentals - but if you feel it is just the frame of mind that got you into this soup, then rest not until you are in a position to take control of the test (rather than be controlled by the test)

The best medicine to tackle failure is to face it with your eyes wide open!
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New post 29 Sep 2005, 15:07
akladow - Your post just saved me a lot of writing because I feel the exact way (and I feel your pain). However, I did even worse (470 on my first attempt - Q27, V28). I do plan on taking it again because like you, I scored consistently in the mid to low 600's on my practice tests.

I guess in order to determine your weak areas, you have to analyze your scaled score for each area (Q & V). For me, my scores are almost identical which means I have to work on both areas. Since most B-Schools stress Q, I'm going to work on those skills and aim for a Q score of at least 38, which, with the same V score, would give me a ~560. If I can then improve my V score a little, I may be able to get close to a 600; hey, at this point ANY score in the 550+ range is good to me. My target school ranges (P/T programs) are 550-750 and I think my application is very strong (with the exception of my GMAT score).

I think I let my nerves get to me. For V, I had 3 RC passages in a row and nearly fainted! From then on, my timing and whole mindset was off. On Q, I knew I was weak in geometry (from all my practice tests) and studied it almost exclusively this last month. What a mistake that was - I only had 1 geometry question on the test while I had a plethora of combination, permutation, and probability questions, which I didn't really study well. I was told that these types of questions are given to the real high scorers 675+ so I wasn't expecting that many, if any, at all. Oh well, learning experience I guess...

I'm not going to let this test beat me. I'm going to take this weekend off, analyze my strengths and weaknesses, and go from there. I just wish I had a break down of what questions I got wrong so I can figure out what TYPES of problems within Q & V I need more work on. For now, I'll just stick with "I need to work on everything" mantra - haha!

Don't give up and good luck!!
  [#permalink] 29 Sep 2005, 15:07
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Choked, time to re-evaluate....

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