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Consistent Official Mock Scores - Shocking Real Exam

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New post 11 Dec 2019, 23:10
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Hi,

I've been an active follower of gmatclub and can't thank this place enough for the support it provides to students. While I had envisioned writing a positive post explaining how this forum helped me land my 700+ score (had a target of Q49/V38 as minimum benchmark), unfortunately I am having to write a rather depressing post about how the exam just didn't go my way.

This post is going to focus on the QR section (a shocking Q44) because I attempted that first and it only went downhill from there.

Cutting straight to the point - below are my 6 Official GMATPrep mock scores - After such scores I believe I had realstic a target 700+

1) 700 Q47/V39
2) 720 Q48/V41
3) 660 Q49/V31 (Lost focus in verbal)
4) 710 Q49/V38
5) 740 Q49/V41
6) 710 Q49/V38 (Should be a 720 since it was under harsh environment with drilling noise for 3 hours)

Important Point - I DID NOT FACE ANY time issue in quant in the mocks.

I'd also like to say I'm not someone who comes under pressure during an exam or faces a blackout where I forget alot of things.

However, I did get into a crazy negative thought bubble during the exam - the reason being - I was bombarded with tricky questions from the first moment

Now - the concepts behind the questions that came in the exam weren't "unknown" or "tough" - many of them were just posed in very manipulative language compared to the official material - questions which ideally would take 1 min 30 seconds took 3 mins 30 seconds - because I was not even solving what it had asked - and some questions - simple percentage / ratio / ap / time work questions - concepts I am good at, even after multiple readings I could still not understand what exactly they were asking - or for some reason couldn't get an answer which was even there in the options - something unusual since they usually trick you into getting a wrong option. It almost seemed as if they had combined CR with Quant! For example in two of the percentage questions - It seemed almost impossible to figure out what they wanted me to do!

While I didn't think too much about the "first 10 question" strategy - I had definitely decided that on the exam - questions on concepts I am sure off , I will make sure I carefully read and check my answers because I had the ability to get a Q50 if I minimised my silly mistakes (50%+ of my mistakes in mocks were silly and not conceptual). It's a strategy I believed would work also because I did not face much time issue and always believed I can catch up lost seconds in easier questions as done in mocks

However, if you see the Performance Progression parts of the QR section in my ESR (was not eligible to upload attachments)- I was challenged with HIGH level questions from moment go - instead of getting flustered, I thought - Ok let me take a bit of time but let's get these right - Only to realise I'm not getting ANY MEDIUM QUESTIONS?! In the mocks I'd always get some questions which would just take upto 1 minute which meant I could catch up for lost time but it seemed as if during the the real exam I wasn't getting any medium questions (as can be seen from my ESR).

Is it common to be tested with probably 25+ HIGH questions? I have seen ESR's of 700+ scores and Q51s where average difficultly line seems to be lower than mine!

All this caused me to be in an impossible situation of less than a min per question for the last 15, which basically meant I guessed in the end as can be seen from the accuracy.

So much of my mental stamina went waste into stuff like - thinking whether to spend time on a question or not? If I do, whether I can recover from this or not? Why am I not being able to clearly understand the question? along with multiple solving of the same question. I was so flustered and surprised after the Q section , I lost all focus for the remaining part of the exam so Verbal was also much worse than my average.

I am now wondering how to tackle this situation as I am running on tight deadlines for Round 2 applications and have a retake on 27th. Since most of my concepts are pretty clear , I'm going to focus on stamina building and exam mentality by giving 3rd party mocks everyday.

Any guidance would be of great help.

Thank you
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Re: Consistent Official Mock Scores - Shocking Real Exam  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Dec 2019, 23:31
Hi kabsar,

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 discuss any of those potential issues though, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) What was your Score on the Official GMAT (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores)?
2) How long have you studied? How many hours do you typically study each week?
3) What study materials have you used so far?
4) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs/mocks and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? Did you take any other CATs besides the 6 Official CATs?

Goals:
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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 on Test Day (and what you should work on to score higher). Since you have purchased the ESR, I will be happy to analyze it for you. Before you can include attachments with your posts/PMs, you need at least 5 posts in the forums. If you would rather not go through those extra steps right now, then you can feel free to email me your ESR directly (at Rich.C@empowergmat.com).

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New post 12 Dec 2019, 17:05
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Hi,

The Quant section in real GMAT is a bit tougher than the GMAT Prep mocks. Like you said the language is quite confusing.

However, what you should have avoided is analysing too much about what to do for each question during the exam which I assume would have consumed lot more time than you realised.

Coming to how to tackle these questions on 27th, I would suggest to get the advanced question bank released by GMAC which only consists the toughest questions of GMAT and practise the same.

If timing is not too much an issue in quants, you can try to follow the initial 10 questions and final 5 questions strategy.

All the best

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New post 13 Dec 2019, 00:20
Dillesh4096 wrote:
Hi,

The Quant section in real GMAT is a bit tougher than the GMAT Prep mocks. Like you said the language is quite confusing.

However, what you should have avoided is analysing too much about what to do for each question during the exam which I assume would have consumed lot more time than you realised.

Coming to how to tackle these questions on 27th, I would suggest to get the advanced question bank released by GMAC which only consists the toughest questions of GMAT and practise the same.

If timing is not too much an issue in quants, you can try to follow the initial 10 questions and final 5 questions strategy.

All the best

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Many thanks for your response. Good to know that the language indeed can be more confusing or atleast seem confusing on the day. As suggested, best way to tackle is by doing tough language questions and remain calm during the exam.

Any other source apart from GMAC Advanced Question Bank? I had completed it and of the 150 questions, atleast 100 i was able to tackle without need of external support - Remaining I had figured with some help or the other. However, I will definitely have a look at this book again again as it may give clues to the kind of tricky language GMAC likes to use and will focus on that aspect this time. I am also seeing GMATNinja's Word Bootcamp episodes to see if I can pick up some tips and tricks to ensure I have clarity on lanuage in Quant questions

Also, since I have exhausted all 6 official mocks - Which others do you suggest I give ? I am working on exam stamina and improving focus levels these 2 weeks.

Giving them out of home environment this time. I think the comfort of giving a mock at home vs suddenly giving it in an environment which has security tighter than immigration can put you off and build up those stress levels and lead to overthinking!

Also, what do you mean by "initial 10 questions and final 5 questions strategy"? Personally , I don't believe any strategy now because GMAT has openly busted the 10 question myth in the OG, and also from my experience one can not guage or predict the difficulty of the questions one will get at any time. I literally got all Hard questions which I think is not common. You usually do get some medium questions? Maybe I could have got more wrong than I thought and still achieved a good score but I instead wasted time not wanting to get them wrong only leading to shortage which forced me to guess too many. This time I'm going to try and give it with a mindset as if I'm just giving another mock and go with the flow of the paper instead of overthinking with too many strategy's or wasting braincells on anything other than "understand what they want , solve it , move on" However, would still be interested in the strategy you mentioned!

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New post 13 Dec 2019, 00:32
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi kabsar,

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 discuss any of those potential issues though, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) What was your Score on the Official GMAT (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores)?
2) How long have you studied? How many hours do you typically study each week?
3) What study materials have you used so far?
4) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs/mocks and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? Did you take any other CATs besides the 6 Official CATs?

Goals:
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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 on Test Day (and what you should work on to score higher). Since you have purchased the ESR, I will be happy to analyze it for you. Before you can include attachments with your posts/PMs, you need at least 5 posts in the forums. If you would rather not go through those extra steps right now, then you can feel free to email me your ESR directly (at Rich.C@ empowergmat. com).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Rich, Many thanks for your response. Have emailed you.

Regards
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New post 13 Dec 2019, 00:59
Hi Kabsar,

Sorry about the test experience. I have had my fair share of shock as you did with difficult questions right from the word go! Though I am able to relate my past experience with you, I am not clear as to what you mean by manipulative language. Could you please throw some light on what do you mean by the convoluted language usage in quants and what kind of questions do you identify with this category?
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New post 13 Dec 2019, 01:44
MariaAntony wrote:
Hi Kabsar,

Sorry about the test experience. I have had my fair share of shock as you did with difficult questions right from the word go! Though I am able to relate my past experience with you, I am not clear as to what you mean by manipulative language. Could you please throw some light on what do you mean by the convoluted language usage in quants and what kind of questions do you identify with this category?


Hi Maria,

Sure - basically - I dont have a tough time with the difficult questions per se - a consist Q49 on 4 offical mocks should validate that. I am capable of a Q50 if i was to minimise extremely silly mistakes like selecting 196 instead of 192 when i know after solving the equations the answer final is 96*2 ! Presence of mind ! Well that's an "if" .. so let's go with Q49 ..

What i mean is .. on the exam .. i felt numerous questions ... in topics like -

Compound Interest
Percentages
Ratio
Speed Time
AP / GP

were posed in a language which were very awkward. It's almost like you felt they themselves were using bad langauge which you're supposed to correct in SC !

Clearly i remember a question on percentage where if i took any permutation of calculating .. i was getting no number which was in the options .. probably wasted 4 mins and guessed out of frustration .. this kind of time waste basically happened 4-5 times causing my exam to go totally bad ..

They used so many "of's" and "if's' in that question I was like - "W@# are even trying to say?"

And im sure mathematically it was so simple .. it was just a group of people .. some attending an event .. some not .. a sub group .. of which some were and weren't .. and one just had to calculate something in all of that

Similarly for Compound Interest .. A simple question for the amount of interest in terms of a particular variable had to be calculated .. just couldn't match an answer ..

AP/GP definitely seemed to have a rare concept where they expected you to multiply/divide some series ..

I do think some of the mess up was on my part personally due to overthinking on the paper compared to being calm during mocks .. However my ESR does show i got Hard questions for each quarter in QR .. the difficulty graph didn't seem to drop much even when i was getting questions wrong ... I thought I'll catch up on lost time but never got the chance !

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New post 16 Dec 2019, 20:36
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Hi kabsar,
I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT. Assuming that you took your official practice exams under realistic testing conditions, the results show that, on a good day, you are capable of scoring higher than Q44. Regarding your score drop, it’s possible that you have some lingering weaknesses that were exposed on test day. Furthermore, it’s possible that, in your preparation, you did not really learn to do what you have to do in order to score high on the actual GMAT. Rather, you picked up on some patterns that were effective in getting you relatively high scores on practice tests. So, for you to hit your score goal, your preparation probably needs to be more complete, meaning that you have to go through the various types of GMAT questions carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills.

The overall process will be to learn all about how to answer question types with which you currently aren't very comfortable and do dozens of practice questions category by category, basically driving up your score point by point. 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.

Since you are looking for additional resources check out the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant courses.

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New post 19 Dec 2019, 08:28
Sorry to hear that. As gmat gradually changes its question tones and language from year to year, did you do the OG2020 before the real test? Just to have a sense of your narrative here

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New post 19 Dec 2019, 08:51
Your experience resonates a lot with me (I wrote in Nov-Q48 but only 67 percentile), and I was surprised no one shared about it until now.

None of the mocks out there- GMATprep or Veritas come close to the actual exam now.For quant one reason is that- asian test takers are doing well so you need to do exceptionally well to get a Q49-51. The difficulty level of questions is close to hardest questions on Gmatclub or aligning towards Manhattan prep.

Even verbal options seem to be more confusing than usual OG or GMAT prep tests. I can't exactly put a finger to it but GMAT's difficulty level has increased considerably.

I have covered all concepts of Verbal and Quant, studying from all 'reliable' sources- but the test is testing our patience this time. At least mock tests are no more representative at all of the actual test. It feels as though the test makers have change.

I know I can crack the exam but would appreciate if all GMAT experts would write the test of late and share their experience if they felt the same.
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New post 19 Dec 2019, 09:47
Hi there,

I guess I faced somewhat similar situation in quant and verbal both. In 6 official mocks my Q scores were 49, 50, 50, 51, 51 and 50. And 5 of 6 Verbal scores were in the range of 35-40 still I ended up scoring Q49V33 in the real test.

Here’s what I think, the official tests(esply tests 3-6) are either outdated or not calibrated as per current level of difficulty. I felt the biggest difference in SC and DS questions. The very first question in my paper was an SC question and it was puzzling like hell, I took 3 minutes or so to mark it, may be I can’t say it was difficult because I am not a native speaker and not that good at verbal but I can surely say that it was unusual, I used to get 80-85% SCs right in official mocks.

My advice would be to practice with non-official tests as well, My score 680 was closest to Manhattan/Veritas tests I gave.

Good luck.

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New post 19 Dec 2019, 09:57
I think you’re onto something. Test 3&4 and 5&6 have a much smaller question database which is about as big as the test itself there’s not as much of a choice of questions and that’s the result the algorithm is less accurate. That’s my theory, though it is a fact that the question bank is limited. No matter how many times you reset those test, you get the exact same questions except in a different order.

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New post Updated on: 19 Dec 2019, 10:25
A snippet of the QR section from my ESR. As you can see - I unexpectedly got HIGH questions with tremendous consistency - Even after making errors!

This also shows that I basically wasted alot of time in the beginning with the attitude that - "I know I can solve this so I have to solve it" and messed up time management - I expected I'd get some more medium questions once I did make some mistakes - where I'd have then been able to probably catchup on some lost time but as this shows - I didnt get them!
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File comment: A snippet of the QR section from my ESR.
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ESR Q Performance.jpg [ 196.8 KiB | Viewed 501 times ]


Originally posted by kabsar on 19 Dec 2019, 10:17.
Last edited by kabsar on 19 Dec 2019, 10:25, edited 3 times in total.
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New post 19 Dec 2019, 10:18
bb wrote:
I think you’re onto something. Test 3&4 and 5&6 have a much smaller question database which is about as big as the test itself there’s not as much of a choice of questions and that’s the result the algorithm is less accurate. That’s my theory, though it is a fact that the question bank is limited. No matter how many times you reset those test, you get the exact same questions except in a different order.

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Hey, great to see you on this post - Attached a snippet of my ESR in another reply here - Would be great if you had a look and share your thoughts on it!
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New post 19 Dec 2019, 10:33
Thx. I never embraced the ESRs and don’t find them valuable besides the bare basics such as SC good, CR bad. In my view, they unfortunately lack the precision to show concrete actions. I could not give any more feedback.... even the categories of questions they offer are imprecise and we’re unknown until earlier this year when the advanced book came out.

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New post 20 Dec 2019, 18:25
Dear Kabsar,

Donot loose your heart and I am sure that with the proper guidance from this valuable forum, you can try again to reach your goal.

Best of luck,
Basim

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New post 25 Dec 2019, 18:37
Hi kabsar,

I've sent you a PM with an analysis of your ESR and some additional notes.

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New post 25 Dec 2019, 22:14
I do agree with the fact that GMAT Quant Questions descriptions have become very much convoluted and challenging. Now Its not about simple calculations.In my recent GMAT attempt I did face similar issue ,could not figure out the very first question what the heck it was asking !!. Anyway my only advice try solving OG2020,QR2020,GMAT Advance questions ,you will get a chance to see how the new questions look like.
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Re: Consistent Official Mock Scores - Shocking Real Exam   [#permalink] 25 Dec 2019, 22:14
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