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Confused - Need insight to help process next steps

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Confused - Need insight to help process next steps  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2019, 14:09
I have been preparing for GMAT for- 8 weeks. I know its a shorter time than ideal.

Here's a brief background of my activities and progress -

Mid-December - I took GMAT official practice test # 1 to know where I stand - (This was without any preparation)
Score:
610 - Q44, V27


I took an actual GMAT in early January after two weeks of preparation (This was to get an experience of real setting, environment, etc)
Score:
650 - Q48,V33


I prepare for a month - official guides, blogs, Manhattan books, official GMAT practice questions. Then I took Official Practice test # 2 on Jan 28th
Score:
650 - Q47, V35


I realized that I was making too many silly mistakes in Quant and I was missing application of concepts in Verbal - SC. When I see the correct answer, I immediately know why that is correct and what my mistake was. I practice some more with increased focus. I also noticed I was making mistakes in the first 10 questions that I tried to spend more time on. Gave Official Practice test # 3 on Jan 31st.
Score:
690 - Q49, V35


I know that its not all about just accuracy; but still to gauge some progress:- My typical accuracy in CR and RC is 80% and SC is 50%. I was getting on an average 12-14 questions incorrect in verbal with 7-8 SC incorrect. Applied myself more, practiced SC. I have Official Practice test # 4 on Feb. 3rd
Score:
750 - Q49, V44


I had only 4 questions incorrect in Verbal. 3 SCs and 1 CR. 6 questions incorrect in Quant.

In the last 10 days, I could feel the difference. I know that I was able to apply my knowledge with much more confidence in SC. I did not feel like I was guessing. that is why the improvement from 650 - 750 in 10 days.

Today I took the actual GMAT at the center.
Score:
640 - Q44, V34


I feel like I am back at where I started. The bigger problem is that i thought my test went quite well. I was hoping somewhere between 700 and 750. Couple of observations - My quant section in the middle was tough. i was thrown P&C problems, advanced geometry problems that I had not encountered in any practice. At least that told me that i was doing well or so I thought. Q44 certainly does not prove that.

I plan to take the test again in two weeks. I am confident that 640 is not reflective of my true abilities. Any words of wisdom? What should I do in the next two weeks? I am not going to lose heart but i need some direction as I feel a bit lost on where to start and what went so wrong in today's test. I have requested the ESR to see..

Thank you in advance for your help!
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Re: Confused - Need insight to help process next steps  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2019, 15:56
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Hi rshah13.

Your situation is interesting, as it sounds as if you have a decent grasp of what it takes to score high on the GMAT and yet didn't match your practice test scores when you took the actual GMAT.

I guess there are a few questions to answer here.

Why didn't you score close to where you have been scoring on practice tests?

To what degree does that score reflect your current skill levels?

How should you proceed going forward?

The answer to the first question is likely some combination of careless errors, your happening to see some questions that matched some skill gaps that you had, and your getting tricked by trap answers and new twists in verbal.

My best guess answer to the second question is that your skill levels are higher than that score indicates they are and that, at the same time, there are some gaps in your skillset.

Of course, without my seeing your ESR, it's a little tough for me to say exactly how to proceed. At the same time, I can say the following.

For quant, you could lock in a higher score by filling in skill gaps. You may get some information on where skill gaps lie from the ESR for this test. You may know where some lie. Clearly, permutations and geometry seem to be areas you could work on. Also, you can identify some by going over your previous practice questions and tests. Wherever they are, strengthen weaker areas, so that, if you see questions of those types on the test, you answer them within two minutes and get them correct. You don't have to become a master of every area, but the more areas you master, the more likely you will be to hit your score goal.

Also, if you think you may have made some careless errors in quant, focus on accuracy in your practice. Seek to get long streaks of correct answers in your practice. It's one thing to know basically how to answer quant questions and another to correctly answer them consistently.

For some tips on quant accuracy, you could check out this post: https://blog.targettestprep.com/be-accu ... mat-score/

Regarding verbal, what you have done so far sounds great. At the same time, somehow you chose trap answers when you took the actual test. So, you have to continue to train in verbal and become even better at defining exactly why wrong answers are wrong and right answers are right. GMAT verbal is essentially a test of the level of sophistication of the thinking that one brings to bear when answering the questions. So, seek to make your reasons for choosing answers even more sophisticated.

For some ideas on how to think about SC, consider the following choices and explanations.

In 1988, the debut at the Metropolitan Opera of operatic singer Carlos Feller was made as Don Alfonso, regarded as his signature role, and returned there in 1990 as Dr. Bartolo in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

    (A) the debut at the Metropolitan Opera of operatic singer Carlos Feller was made as Don Alfonso, regarded as his signature role, and returned

    (B) operatic singer Carlos Feller made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, in what was regarded as his signature role, Don Alfonso, and he returned

Explanation:

(A) Incorrect. The passive voice wording “the debut … was made” is suboptimal, as it places the focus of the sentence on the debut rather than on Carlos Feller, while Carlos Feller seems to be meant to be the main topic of the sentence, given what the sentence says about the debut, the role, and his returning in 1990.

Also, the wording “the debut … was made as Don Alfonso” does not clearly convey that Carlos Feller was in the role of Don Alfonso, instead conveying the nonsensical meaning that the debut itself somehow “was made as Don Alfonso.”

Also, since the past participial phrase “regarded as his signature role” is separated from the clause that precedes it by a comma, the phrase’s logical target is the subject of the preceding clause, and thus, the sentence seems to convey that Carlos Feller’s debut was regarded as his signature role.

Also, “the debut … was made … and returned” conveys the nonsensical meaning that the debut returned in 1990.

Also, since the sentence opens with “in 1988,” the sentence is essentially “in 1988, the debut ... was made … and returned … in 1990,” conveying that, in 1988, the debut returned in 1990. This issue could easily be missed by a test-taker who does not remember to consider the non-underlined portion along with the answer choice.

(B) Correct. The active voice wording “Carlos Feller made his debut … and returned” effectively conveys a meaning that makes sense.

Also, using the pronoun “what,” rather than “who,” to refer to “his signature role, Don Alfonso” makes sense, as a role is a thing, not a person.

Answer: B

To make your thinking more sophisticated, carefully analyze verbal questions, even ones that you have seen previously, identifying the logic that makes the answers wrong or correct and clearly articulating that logic as if you have to explain what you have found to someone else.

Overall, it sounds as if you are on the right track. To confirm that you are and get more practice in handling the test itself, take some more practice tests as you go along.

Also, it would make sense to come back here to get some ideas on how to further refine what you are doing after you get your ESR and as you proceed.
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Re: Confused - Need insight to help process next steps  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2019, 21:25
Hi Ravi,

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. Before we talk about those issues though, I have some questions about your studies so far. What you have described in this post varies significantly from the plan that you outlined several months ago here:

(https://gmatclub.com/forum/need-some-in ... l#p2177541)

1) Can you describe how your plans changed in November/December of 2018? What studying - if any - did you do during that time? Did you end up taking any of those practice CATs (meaning that you took them a second time in January/February)?
2) What are your current application plans/timeline?

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Re: Confused - Need insight to help process next steps  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Feb 2019, 14:54
Thank you Rich and Marty for your feedback.

Rich - To your question about my previous plan and the change...I planned to study for GMAT starting last November and took a date for 1st week in Jan (as per my previous post). There were few things happening in my personal life because of which I could not start preparations. I started preparing in mid-December but kept the Jan 1st week test date to use it for experience. I took another exam date for Feb. 5th. I did not give any CATs prior to January test due to lack of time. I just studied the concepts for two weeks and took the test.

I am targeting several EMBA programs.

I got my ESR for the test yesterday and here are the takeaways as I see it -

Quant - I had all questions correct for the 1st 1/4th and 80% correct for the second quarter. I think that's when i ran into P&C and geometry questions where time ran away from me. The most telling thing is i got all questions wrong in the last quarter spending average of under a minute on each one of them. so looks like I was on a great trajectory till middle of the section and completely lost my way after trying to rush through the questions.

Verbal - Similar story. All good till 12-14 questions. Then I remember getting tough RCs. It took away the time and accuracy. I reversed my usual scoring. I scored 90 percentile in SC; but 40 in RC. I am typically over 90 percentile in RCs...

My takewaway:
- Need to practice higher difficulty quant questions with accuracy and within time limit
- Practice difficult RCs
- Continue SC and CR practice as ''maintain'' the skill level

Any thoughts?
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Confused - Need insight to help process next steps  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Feb 2019, 15:54
rshah13 wrote:
Thank you Rich and Marty for your feedback.

I got my ESR for the test yesterday and here are the takeaways as I see it -

Quant - I had all questions correct for the 1st 1/4th and 80% correct for the second quarter. I think that's when i ran into P&C and geometry questions where time ran away from me. The most telling thing is i got all questions wrong in the last quarter spending average of under a minute on each one of them. so looks like I was on a great trajectory till middle of the section and completely lost my way after trying to rush through the questions.

Since you scored Q44 after missing all of the questions in the fourth quarter and rushing through the third quarter, you were totally rocking quant before things went downhill.

Had you simply guessed on a couple of questions that you clearly were not ready to answer and spent more time on ones that you were ready to answer, you may have scored 4 - 6 points higher in quant
Quote:
Verbal - Similar story. All good till 12-14 questions. Then I remember getting tough RCs. It took away the time and accuracy. I reversed my usual scoring. I scored 90 percentile in SC; but 40 in RC. I am typically over 90 percentile in RCs...

Well, at least SC was strong. You can't let RC drag you down. You have to practice RC until for you there is no such thing as a "tough RC."

Quote:
My takewaway:
- Need to practice higher difficulty quant questions with accuracy and within time limit
- Practice difficult RCs
- Continue SC and CR practice as ''maintain'' the skill level

I tend to agree with your plan.

At the same time, I don't entirely agree with what you said about answering higher difficultly quant questions within the time limit. I think your best bet is not to shoot for any time limit, at least not at first. Rather, you should work topic by topic in the following way.

Fill in any knowledge gaps you have for a topic. Then do dozens of questions of that one type, and not with a time limit. Just seek to get them correct. Your job is to arrive at correct answers, in two minutes or ten minutes, or however long it takes. Just get correct answers, and this approach works for verbal too.

To speed up, develop skill. Get it? If you are super good at, for instance, permutations questions, the clock won't even be an issue. You will naturally complete them in under two minutes. The same goes for any type of quant question. Your best bet is to increase speed by developing skill.

Sure, you can shoot for two minutes per question at some point, but doing so is something that you do later, as a refinement, once you are a total master at answering the questions.

For more on how to increase your quant score, you could check out this blog post. How To Increase Your GMAT Quant Score

Similarly for verbal, you can speed up by becoming better at analyzing answer choices. The better you are at seeing the differences between trap answers and correct answers, the more verbal questions you will answer correctly, and the faster you will answer them.

Overall, it sounds as if you are on the right track. So, make sure that you are realistic about what you have to do, and that you do what you have to do. Over the next two weeks, be sure to strengthen some weaker areas to the point of mastery. Permutations and combinations, for instance, can become some of the easiest questions that you will see, IF you know what you are doing.
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Re: Confused - Need insight to help process next steps  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Feb 2019, 21:23
Hi Ravi,

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). Since you have purchased the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you. If you would rather not post your ESR publicly, then you can feel free to PM or email it directly to me.

Given everything that you have described (including your Score Goal), I do not think that you should 'rush' back in to retest. There are likely a number of potential issues in terms of how you prepared for the Exam - and we need to define and fix them before you retest.

1) What application deadlines are you currently facing?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Confused - Need insight to help process next steps   [#permalink] 06 Feb 2019, 21:23
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