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Disappointing 460 on first GMAT. Starting my new prep now

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Disappointing 460 on first GMAT. Starting my new prep now  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 04:16
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Hi guys,

first of all thank you for this amazing forum. I red so many inspiring stories and saw all the materials available for free and couldn't find any better on the internet.

Here's my profile:
Male, french, 23 years old, just graduated in management/entrepreneurship.

Last year, when I was applying for schools, I did everything wrong. I decided to start studying for GMAT with the aim of 700+. Thing to know: I had many classes & homework at that time (50+ per week) and felt myself very lazy studying for GMAT. I had no study plan, didn't do any tests at the beginning to know my base score, and paid for an expensive class with a teacher that was not caring that much. I had 3 months to study. The first two went very quick, I was basically not studying at all, just doing exercises on the go that my teacher was giving me. I had all the necessary material: OG, complete Manhattan GMAT suite, this forum and so on, but couldn't find motivation. Best of the best, I chose the closest test center to my home (I live in the south of France), located in Spain (Barcelona) and each computer had a Spanish keyboard. I realized that was gonna be a problem for the essay 3 days before (just to tell you how stupid I was). I went to the test center, felt very stressed, did not perform well and got a disappointing 460. I don't even remember my verbal and quant score, I just cancelled everything and left. I was clearly really not prepared and mature enough at that time, so here is what I did:

I took the decision to come back home for a year and focus on standardized tests. My objective was to get into a master degree in a french school. I first tried the tage-mage, a french version of the GMAT (way easier). I also did the TOIEC and some other tests that are for french schools, just to secure an admission for september. I got good results in all those tests and worked a lot on my quant skills as well. I thought I would have to pass some tests twice but it was actually not necessary. As I have the rest of the year available (I am working now to make a bit of money but my job does not exceed 35 hours/week), I started to think about going to other schools in Europe, that are better that the french ones (Bocconi & Rotterdam erasmus university). I have to be realistic, I have 3 months available with a lot of free time, but I put my new aim at 650. This is clearly low compared to some of you guys and I feel uncomfortable writing this as some manage to get very high scores even working 60+ hours a week.

So here's my new plan. I am now doing a self prep following bb's study plan. I also subscribed to the beat the gmat 60 day guide and work with OG, manhattan GMAT, Kaplan books and this forum. I have 3 to 5 hours available every day which I will dedicate to GMAT. I will udpate on this topic how my prep is going.

thank you all,

JR
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Re: Disappointing 460 on first GMAT. Starting my new prep now  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 19:34
jrwke31 wrote:
Hi guys,

first of all thank you for this amazing forum. I red so many inspiring stories and saw all the materials available for free and couldn't find any better on the internet.

Here's my profile:
Male, french, 23 years old, just graduated in management/entrepreneurship.

Last year, when I was applying for schools, I did everything wrong. I decided to start studying for GMAT with the aim of 700+. Thing to know: I had many classes & homework at that time (50+ per week) and felt myself very lazy studying for GMAT. I had no study plan, didn't do any tests at the beginning to know my base score, and paid for an expensive class with a teacher that was not caring that much. I had 3 months to study. The first two went very quick, I was basically not studying at all, just doing exercises on the go that my teacher was giving me. I had all the necessary material: OG, complete Manhattan GMAT suite, this forum and so on, but couldn't find motivation. Best of the best, I chose the closest test center to my home (I live in the south of France), located in Spain (Barcelona) and each computer had a Spanish keyboard. I realized that was gonna be a problem for the essay 3 days before (just to tell you how stupid I was). I went to the test center, felt very stressed, did not perform well and got a disappointing 460. I don't even remember my verbal and quant score, I just cancelled everything and left. I was clearly really not prepared and mature enough at that time, so here is what I did:

I took the decision to come back home for a year and focus on standardized tests. My objective was to get into a master degree in a french school. I first tried the tage-mage, a french version of the GMAT (way easier). I also did the TOIEC and some other tests that are for french schools, just to secure an admission for september. I got good results in all those tests and worked a lot on my quant skills as well. I thought I would have to pass some tests twice but it was actually not necessary. As I have the rest of the year available (I am working now to make a bit of money but my job does not exceed 35 hours/week), I started to think about going to other schools in Europe, that are better that the french ones (Bocconi & Rotterdam erasmus university). I have to be realistic, I have 3 months available with a lot of free time, but I put my new aim at 650. This is clearly low compared to some of you guys and I feel uncomfortable writing this as some manage to get very high scores even working 60+ hours a week.

So here's my new plan. I am now doing a self prep following bb's study plan. I also subscribed to the beat the gmat 60 day guide and work with OG, manhattan GMAT, Kaplan books and this forum. I have 3 to 5 hours available every day which I will dedicate to GMAT. I will udpate on this topic how my prep is going.

thank you all,

JR


Best of luck! Looking forward to hearing about your progress :-)

-Carolyn
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Re: Disappointing 460 on first GMAT. Starting my new prep now  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Feb 2018, 11:48
Hi jrwke31,

Raising a 460 to a 650+ will likely take at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. You've given yourself a lot of potential study time - which is good - but you'll have to be efficient with your studies going forward to hit your Scorer Goal in that timeframe.

Your plan appears 'book heavy.' Many Test Takers who use a 'book heavy' study approach end up getting 'stuck' at a particular score level, so you'll likely end up needing to invest in some non-book resources.

Since you're restarting your studies, it would be a good idea to take a FULL-LENGTH practice CAT Test; you can download 2 for free from www.mba.com (and they come with some additional practice materials). If you want to do a little studying first, so that you can re-familiarize yourself with the basic content and question types, then that's okay - but you shouldn't wait too long to take that initial CAT. That score will give us a good sense of your current strengths and weaknesses and will help provide a basis for comparison as you continue to study. A FULL CAT takes about 4 hours to complete, so make sure that you've set aside enough time to take it in one sitting. Once you have those scores, you should report back and we can discuss the results.

1) What application deadlines are you facing?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Disappointing 460 on first GMAT. Starting my new prep now  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2018, 10:35
So today I did my first CAT from GMAT PREP and scored 490 Q32,V26. Not surprising, it is higher than the test I passed last year as I passed the tage-mage, a french exam like the GMAT but way easier: it probably helped me a bit for quant.

One really bad thing that I have to correct as soon as possible: I finish too early (30min in advance for quant and 20 min in advance for verbal). When I was answering I was not looking at the timer and realized at the end that I was way too fast (maybe because of stress?). I probably did a LOT of silly mistakes because of this.

Another thing is that I thought I would be better at verbal. I'm a bit confused now as I was going to start studying quant first but that changed a bit my mind.

Anyway, what do you think about this? My test is scheduled for May 5th and my admission deadlines are on the 15th. They accept unofficial report so everything is fine. I could maybe pass the test twice... first one early april and second early may?

Thank you for your responses !

JR
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Joined: 30 Oct 2017
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Re: Disappointing 460 on first GMAT. Starting my new prep now  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2018, 15:16
jrwke31 wrote:
So today I did my first CAT from GMAT PREP and scored 490 Q32,V26. Not surprising, it is higher than the test I passed last year as I passed the tage-mage, a french exam like the GMAT but way easier: it probably helped me a bit for quant.

One really bad thing that I have to correct as soon as possible: I finish too early (30min in advance for quant and 20 min in advance for verbal). When I was answering I was not looking at the timer and realized at the end that I was way too fast (maybe because of stress?). I probably did a LOT of silly mistakes because of this.

Another thing is that I thought I would be better at verbal. I'm a bit confused now as I was going to start studying quant first but that changed a bit my mind.

Anyway, what do you think about this? My test is scheduled for May 5th and my admission deadlines are on the 15th. They accept unofficial report so everything is fine. I could maybe pass the test twice... first one early april and second early may?

Thank you for your responses !

JR


Hi jrwke31!

Congratulations on your improvement! It's great that you've been able to narrow down some of the possible issues. First, let's talk about how you can avoid minor and careless mistakes. When this happens, first, ask yourself where the error happened. Was it at the end of the problem or at the beginning of a problem? Many times I see students make errors right at the end of the problem. This is a natural human tendency that we have to fight. How many times have we seen a team winning an entire game only to lose in the final minutes or a runner ahead in the race who loses in the final stretch? This all comes from the same tendency: we drop our guard when we see the finish line. We relax. We drop our focus. We rush. All of which does not help us to succeed. So the first rule: when you see the finish line, when you are nearing the end of the problem, focus even more. Don't rush. Don't drop your guard. Know that everyone has the tendency to slack off near the end -- don't be that person!

Second, are you tired when you make these errors? Have you had a power session of studying? If so, taking a short break to stretch, move around, and drink water might be all that you need to refocus. Obviously you won't be able to take a stretch break in the middle of the test, but you should absolutely do so during your study periods. For every hour of study, let your mind drift off to somewhere else for 5 minutes. Then return to answering problems.

As for test day, closing your eyes momentarily can offer a nice break. Keep them closed and count to 10 or 20. Try to push all thoughts out of your mind and just focus on taking long, purposeful breaths. This will help to fight off any exhaustion. I would also recommend reading Mike's article about careless errors on the GMAT math section :-)

The second issue may be the depth of your understanding. You need to be brutally honest with yourself about why you miss questions. Was it a "silly" mistake or did you not really understand the concepts as well as you could have? For all your GMAT practice, analyzing your practice and learning from your mistakes is extremely important!

Basically, studying your mistakes gives you maximum improvement. If it were possible to never make the same mistake twice, you would become an absolute master of the test in a very, very short time. So be sure to watch explanation videos for every question you get wrong (and watching those you get right is also a good idea!), study very carefully the related concepts, research methods, or material you're not comfortable with but are mentioned in the solution, and really analyze the questions.

On that note, see these very useful articles on learning from your practice, memory, and translating your practice to exam performance:

GMAT Strategies: Learning from Practice Problems
“Understanding” the GMAT: Practice vs. Exam Performance
The GMAT, Learning, and Memory

As for studying Quant vs. Verbal, I'd definitely recommend working on both at the same time, rather than just only studying one first then the other. That will keep everything fresh in your mind :-) Here are a few final tips:


I hope some of this is helpful! Best of luck with your studies :-)
-Carolyn
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Re: Disappointing 460 on first GMAT. Starting my new prep now  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2018, 17:04
Hi jrwke31,

Based on what you describe, you have a little over 3 months of potential study time - which is good. You also finished the Quant and Verbal sections on this CAT so early that you almost certainly made a number of little mistakes. Thus, if you slow down, take more notes, do more work on the pad, etc., then you will likely score higher than this initial CAT Score. That having been said, you will likely still need all of that study time to hit your Score Goal - and you would likely benefit from investing in a GMAT Course of some type (either Guided Self-Study or instructor-led).

Most GMAT Companies offer some type of free materials (practice problems, Trial Accounts, videos, etc.) that you can use to 'test out' a product before you buy it. We have a variety of those resources at our site (www.empowergmat.com). I suggest that you take advantage of all of them then choose the one that best matches your personality, timeline and budget.

If you have any additional question, then you can feel free to contact me directly.

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

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

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Re: Disappointing 460 on first GMAT. Starting my new prep now &nbs [#permalink] 03 Feb 2018, 17:04
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