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# Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?

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Intern
Joined: 06 Oct 2018
Posts: 29
Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?  [#permalink]

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08 Dec 2018, 05:08
Hi everyone,

Just took my 2nd GMAT two days ago and got the exact same score as my 1st time. Both times abysmal score (520), particularly in Quant (27 and 29).
Now, the first time I took I hadn't studied at all, so that was to be expected. I then decided to get serious about this adventure and I dedicated 4 intense month of study.

Some Mock Exam Results:

MGMAT 1 --> Q37 V27 (after 1 month proper study)
MGMAT 2 --> Q29 V35 (after the 1st mock I started studying verbal, prob why Q decreased)
MGMAT 3 --> Q39 V35 (first decent result, 2.5 months in).
MGMAT 4 --> let's come back to this one.

These were all taken prior to June 2018 (excluding MGMAT 4).

In the meantime, I kept studying. I went through the MGMAT strategy guides 2 times each (yes, all books including advanced quant twice).
I then started working through as many 600 level problems on GMAT Club as I could, both DS and PS and also on Verbal.
I then moved to 700 levels.

Then I took GmatPrep Tests

GMATPrep Mock 1 --> 610 (Q42 V 32)
GMATPrep Mock 2 --> 610 (Q40 V34)
GMATPrep Mock 3 --> 630 (Q43 V33)
GMATPrep Mock 4 --> 720 (Q49 V38)

I took the last mock (720) 4 days before the exam, and served as a good confidence boost (obv score is inflated due to the fact I knew the answer to 2 700 level problems).
I expected a score between 630 and 680 to be comp. honest.

Much to my disappointment, I scored well below my normal averages (520). Literally felt like absolute **** and cancelled immediately.

My questions:
1) is GMAC fu***** with me and purposefully giving me these scores so I keep taking the damn test so they make money? (I've heard stories from really close friends scoring 700+ and getting 480 on the test.. then on the 3rd or 4th times they get their "expected scores")

2) Assuming scenario 1 is incredibly unlikely (I really hope), am I just choking on test day? I felt like the questions made absolutely no sense. I have literally done hundreds on Quant questions and probably 35% of the questions I saw were of similar format / concepts tested. Don't know what's up with this.

3) Am I just retarded? If so, then I'll keep taking it until I get at least a 650 to apply for damn schools.

I am hoping that scenario 2 is the correct one. Why not 3 you ask? Back to MGMAT MOCK 4. I took this 2 days after my second official test just to see whether I was a retard or not. --> Q45

Apparently I am not Einstein but am not an idiot either, hence I conclude scenario 2 is the winner.
I can re-take in less than 2 weeks and plan on sitting again. Any help would be appreciated as to how I can go about solving this.

Yours Sincerely,
A very frustrated GMAT taker

(p.s: I hate this stupid test and GMAC).

Thanks
CEO
Joined: 15 Jul 2015
Posts: 3049
Location: India
GMAT 1: 780 Q50 V51
GRE 1: Q170 V169
Re: Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?  [#permalink]

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08 Dec 2018, 06:23
1
PierTotti17 wrote:
2) Assuming scenario 1 is incredibly unlikely (I really hope), am I just choking on test day? I felt like the questions made absolutely no sense. I have literally done hundreds on Quant questions and probably 35% of the questions I saw were of similar format / concepts tested. Don't know what's up with this.
This is one of the strongest signs of exam/time pressure. When people say that the questions they saw on the GMAT made "no sense", what was most likely happening during the exam is that they were thinking about something other than the question in front of them (maybe the outcome of the exam). As a result, they were unable to bring all their brain power to bear on the questions they were solving. That's (a little ) like going from a supercomputer in their practice tests to a handheld calculator during the actual exam!

I like the fact that you're looking to fight your way out of this situation. Taking the actual exam like a practice test actually works for many test takers. That said, keep working on revising the basics as well. All the best!
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Intern
Joined: 06 Oct 2018
Posts: 29
Re: Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?  [#permalink]

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08 Dec 2018, 07:10
AjiteshArun wrote:
PierTotti17 wrote:
2) Assuming scenario 1 is incredibly unlikely (I really hope), am I just choking on test day? I felt like the questions made absolutely no sense. I have literally done hundreds on Quant questions and probably 35% of the questions I saw were of similar format / concepts tested. Don't know what's up with this.
This is one of the strongest signs of exam/time pressure. When people say that the questions they saw on the GMAT made "no sense", what was most likely happening during the exam is that they were thinking about something other than the question in front of them (maybe the outcome of the exam). As a result, they were unable to bring all their brain power to bear on the questions they were solving. That's (a little ) like going from a supercomputer in their practice tests to a handheld calculator during the actual exam!

I like the fact that you're looking to fight your way out of this situation. Taking the actual exam like a practice test actually works for many test takers. That said, keep working on revising the basics as well. All the best!

Thanks for the words of encouragement.

I took the past 2 days to reflect on my performance and honestly I am struggling in coming up with a reason / reasons for my poor performance. Timing has always been the number 1 factor in Quant for me (as it is for most people), but having said that, I was extremely confident going into the exam, as I really think my basic knowledge is very solid.

Typically, the longer the question stem is (particularly in DS) the longer it takes me to solve and by the time I'm done I've spent well over 5 mins. I don't understand how anyone can translate all that text to algebra efficiently and accurately all while under stressful exam conditions. I get the fact that the better you get at understanding topics, the faster you'll get.. but this doesn't seem to hold for me.

Nonetheless, at this point this really doesn't matter (to the extent that I have to take it again in 12 days). Any advice on what to do in the next 12 days?
1) Review MGMAT guides again on weaknesses?
2) Do countless problems again?
3) Take as many mocks as possible in order to improve timing / stress conditions?

I am leaning with a combo of 2) and 3).

Thanks again
SVP
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Schools: INSEAD Jan '19
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WE: Engineering (Real Estate)
Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?  [#permalink]

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08 Dec 2018, 07:59
PierTotti17 wrote:
Hi everyone,

Just took my 2nd GMAT two days ago and got the exact same score as my 1st time. Both times abysmal score (520), particularly in Quant (27 and 29).
Now, the first time I took I hadn't studied at all, so that was to be expected. I then decided to get serious about this adventure and I dedicated 4 intense month of study.

Some Mock Exam Results:

MGMAT 1 --> Q37 V27 (after 1 month proper study)
MGMAT 2 --> Q29 V35 (after the 1st mock I started studying verbal, prob why Q decreased)
MGMAT 3 --> Q39 V35 (first decent result, 2.5 months in).
MGMAT 4 --> let's come back to this one.

These were all taken prior to June 2018 (excluding MGMAT 4).

In the meantime, I kept studying. I went through the MGMAT strategy guides 2 times each (yes, all books including advanced quant twice).
I then started working through as many 600 level problems on GMAT Club as I could, both DS and PS and also on Verbal.
I then moved to 700 levels.

Then I took GmatPrep Tests

GMATPrep Mock 1 --> 610 (Q42 V 32)
GMATPrep Mock 2 --> 610 (Q40 V34)
GMATPrep Mock 3 --> 630 (Q43 V33)
GMATPrep Mock 4 --> 720 (Q49 V38)

I took the last mock (720) 4 days before the exam, and served as a good confidence boost (obv score is inflated due to the fact I knew the answer to 2 700 level problems).
I expected a score between 630 and 680 to be comp. honest.

Much to my disappointment, I scored well below my normal averages (520). Literally felt like absolute **** and cancelled immediately.

My questions:
1) is GMAC fu***** with me and purposefully giving me these scores so I keep taking the damn test so they make money? (I've heard stories from really close friends scoring 700+ and getting 480 on the test.. then on the 3rd or 4th times they get their "expected scores")

2) Assuming scenario 1 is incredibly unlikely (I really hope), am I just choking on test day? I felt like the questions made absolutely no sense. I have literally done hundreds on Quant questions and probably 35% of the questions I saw were of similar format / concepts tested. Don't know what's up with this.

3) Am I just retarded? If so, then I'll keep taking it until I get at least a 650 to apply for damn schools.

I am hoping that scenario 2 is the correct one. Why not 3 you ask? Back to MGMAT MOCK 4. I took this 2 days after my second official test just to see whether I was a retard or not. --> Q45

Apparently I am not Einstein but am not an idiot either, hence I conclude scenario 2 is the winner.
I can re-take in less than 2 weeks and plan on sitting again. Any help would be appreciated as to how I can go about solving this.

Yours Sincerely,
A very frustrated GMAT taker

(p.s: I hate this stupid test and GMAC).

Thanks

Hi,

1. https://blog.targettestprep.com/how-to- ... -on-gmat/#

2. https://blog.targettestprep.com/test-anxiety/

3. https://blog.targettestprep.com/mindset ... t-success/

4. https://blog.targettestprep.com/gmat-learning-tips/

5. https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/tag/qu ... -wisdom-2/

6. https://magoosh.com/gmat/all-posts-by-category/
_________________
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Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 15271
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?  [#permalink]

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08 Dec 2018, 13:35
Hi PierTotti17,

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 how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for each)?
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)?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Intern
Joined: 06 Oct 2018
Posts: 29
Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?  [#permalink]

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09 Dec 2018, 06:30
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi PierTotti17,

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 how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for each)?
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)?

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

Hi EMPOWERgmatRichC,

1) I took 3 MGMAT prior to March 10th 2018 (approximately 2 weeks between each mock). All results are posted except for Verbal on my last MGMAT that I recently took. I got 35 on Verbal.
2) Yes I took the whole CAT under exact time conditions. Took both 8 min breaks and never paused the exam.
3) Yes, I took them all at home.
4) I took my first official exam at 2pm. I would usually take the CATs (and also study) either early morning or mid afternoon (at the time I was working so that is what my schedule allowed). I took my second official exam at 11am. The past 4 months I have been studying from 9am until 1pm, in order to keep time of day as close as possible to when I'd take the exam.
5) No, never - this would defeat the point of taking a mock exam.
6) I repeated GMATPrep Exam 1 and 2, you can refer to my original post. I believe the 720 was inflated however I did not expect to drop by over 100 points.

I think what I will do from now until the end of the year is to review 6 topics --> I will go through the MGMAT guides for the third time. Then I will practice 600 & 700 level questions (similar to what I did for remainders, abs. values, and inequalities) for each individual topic until I know them cold.

Thanks for the help!
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 15271
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?  [#permalink]

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09 Dec 2018, 15:51
Hi PierTotti17,

I've sent you a PM with some additional questions.

You might choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report for this recent attempt. 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). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

The Course Used By GMAT Club Moderators To Earn 750+

souvik101990 Score: 760 Q50 V42 ★★★★★
ENGRTOMBA2018 Score: 750 Q49 V44 ★★★★★
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Posts: 8086
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Re: Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?  [#permalink]

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12 Dec 2018, 10:53
Hi PierTotti17,

I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT. It’s clear that you are frustrated, but hang in there, my friend. I’m happy to help you figure out exactly what is going on. What stands out to me is your saying “the questions made absolutely no sense.” If the questions did not seem to make sense, it’s likely that in your GMAT 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. That would explain why you felt uncomfortable with many of the test questions and saw a drop from your practice test scores to your GMAT score.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some new quant and verbal materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

If you’d like more specific advice on how to improve your quant and verbal skills, feel free to reach back out.

Good luck!
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Intern
Joined: 06 Oct 2018
Posts: 29
Re: Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?  [#permalink]

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13 Dec 2018, 09:50
Hi Everyone,

Thanks again for all the kind words and advice! Took some time to reflect about everything and decided that a quick run through of base concepts is needed (in certain areas). I took the Math Revolution Diagnostic Test (73 questions) and I would like to share my results with you in an effort to get some advice as to how to improve.

Here goes (I have attached a PDF to make things easier):

Your estimated GMAT Math Score : 45~46

Arithmetic ---> 16/31 52%
Algebra ---> 15/22 68%
Geometry ---> 5/8 63%
Word Probs ---> 7/12 58%

DS --> 21/37 57%
PS --> 22/36 61%

@ 34 level --> 4/4 100%
@ 35-40 level --> 11/16 69%
@ 41-44 level --> 14/22 64%
@ 45-48 level --> 10/16 63%
@ 49-51 level --> 4/10 40%

Advice at the results page says to focus on Arithmetic, Probability, Abs Value, Word Problems and Inequality. When I took my 2nd official exam 7 days ago I did not get many abs value questions nor inequalities nor probability (I got 2 combinatorics, 1 of which was Prob. I got maybe 2 inequalities and 1 absolute value. Most of the questions were word problems).

Please note: my target score for Quant is around 46 or higher (48 would be incredible but rn I don't think that's achievable).
I would like to retake in roughly 2 weeks (just before YR END).

Any advice / suggestions would be extremely appreciated.

Thanks
Attachments

math revolution diagnostic.pdf [77.92 KiB]

Intern
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Re: Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?  [#permalink]

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20 Dec 2018, 04:56
Bumping for review and additional advice given diagnostic test above ^
Manager
Joined: 06 Jan 2012
Posts: 101
Re: Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?  [#permalink]

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20 Dec 2018, 13:33
Getting 40% of the 49-51Q questions definitely indicates you can score a 48 on the actual exam...have a little more faith in yourself! That being said, your percentages on the other questions indicate that you are either making a lot of careless mistakes (which I myself am also prone to doing), or still could stand to benefit from review of the concepts (not just doing problems), or both. My test is a week from today and I am both reading and doing problems, and actually doing more of the former at this point (surprising even myself). I think one thing that is valuable for me is reviewing hard questions from my stronger areas - even though they're strengths now, if I get rusty, maybe they won't be come test day. Anyways, good luck!
Re: Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?   [#permalink] 20 Dec 2018, 13:33
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# Do I Choke, Or Am I Just Dumb?

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