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ESR Evaluation and Advice on preparation & exam strategies for retake

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ESR Evaluation and Advice on preparation & exam strategies for retake  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2019, 00:25
Dear Experts,

First of all, thank you for being around and helping test takers like me with your expert advice during the desperate times. Your kind analysis and reviews have really helped many test takers, and I believe they will help me now too.

I took GMAT on 19-8-19 and scored 660(Q49 V31 IR6). However, I cancelled the score because I was targeting more than 720(Q50 V38+). It was my 3rd attempt but my 2nd attempt (650 Q49 V29 IR4) was 3 years ago and 1st attempt(600 Q50 V21) was 3.5 years, so I consider the 3rd attempt a fresh start for GMAT. However, to my surprise, the ESR analysis of both attempts showed that I made similar strategy mistakes on both the attempts in Verbal. I prepared for close to 3.5 months and used e-GMAT verbal and GMATclub for Quant. Quant has never been much of a challenge to me because I scored Q50,Q49 and Q49 in my 3 attempts respectively. However, I confess that I am not as comfortable with Quant now as I was during my 1st attempt, considering the fact that I was left with close to 10 minutes of time in my 1st attemp yet scored Q50 and that I did not put much emphasis on Quant this time as I was decently confident that I would score Q49+ in this attempt. My main challenge was verbal and I spent close to 2 months of time only to prepare for verbal through e-GMAT. As per e-GMAT scholaranium my scetional abilities were good, as I was scoring 85%+ on SC, CR and RC. However, during the final week, my RC abilities dropped to ~50% on high level passages of OG VR and OG. Moreover, my verbal scores showed huge swing on my GMAT prep mocks as well and I was confused to undersand what was happening. I took only Official GMAT prep mocks, under close to ideal test environments, and did not test with any other mock. During my usual mocks, I would randomly mark close to 4 Qs in Verbal, since I usually take more time per Q than what is considered optimum.

GMATPREP Mock 1 - 700 - Q49 V36 - 13/7/19
Mock 2 - 730 - Q49 V40 - 20/7/19 (was scoring exceptionally well in RC during these 2 attempts, and hence I focussed more on SC and CR and reduced my time spent analysing RC.)
Mock 3 - 690 - Q40 V34 - 27/7/19
Mock 4 - 670 - Q48 V34 - 2/8/19 (Internet did not work well during this test and I failed to submit the last Q in Quant. Hence, the score dropped to Q48)
Mock 5 - 740 - Q50 V40 - 9/8/19
Mock 6 - 680 - Q48 V35 - 12/8/19 (made some silly mistakes in both V and Q because of lack of attention - probably because of the restlessness from the previous exam that I took 2 days ago).

I usually select the order V,Q,IR,AWA in the mocks and did the same in the real test. During the exam, 1st Q in V was an SC and I really had no clue what to do because none of the option made sense according to me. It was on modifiers and basic sentence construction. In an attempt to not get the first Q wrong and let the algorithm think that my ability was less, I spent close to 5 min on this Q. Eventually not knowing what to do, I marked a random answer and moved on. Lookign at the ESR, I think I got it wrong. I know that I cannot race in Verbal as I can in Quant, and I was ready to skip some random Qs during the later part of the test. I got 1 bold face Q early in the test and I understood that I was doing well on CR, so to get back on optimum time limit, I decided to skip some CR Qs in between, as I take close to 2:30 to get a CR Q right, whereas I take less than 1:30 to get an SC right. I eventually had to skip a lot more Qs than expected because of the time delay and I ended up randomly marking the last 7Qs in the test. In the test, I was really not comfortable with RCs and the result is evident in the ESR. I got tougher Qs in Quant as well and I spent more time on few Qs than I should, particularly because I know that I can compensate the time because of high ability in DS. But I had to skip 1Q in the end because of time constraint and the Q was of high level geometry. From ESR, I got lucky and got it right.

This time, during preparation I decided to spend more time on my Quant through GMAT club tests and I guess, I know what to do to improve my Quant score to Q50+. Counting on the amazing Qs and explanations by Bunuel and other experts. However, I really have no clue on how to advance my preparation in Verbal now, and I request you to advise me on how can I improve my timing strategies and what should i do this time differently to get back to ~85% sub sectional abilities in SC, CR and RC. Furthermore, please let me know what will be my approximate score on AWA with the result that I got from the software(last image).
I plan to take the test in another 30-45 days so that the material is still fresh in my mind and that I do not lose the momentum.

Thanks in Advance.

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Re: ESR Evaluation and Advice on preparation & exam strategies for retake  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2019, 16:03
Hi Alok322,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not go as well as hoped. This Score is remarkably similar to your 2nd Official Score (from 3 years ago), so even though this version of the GMAT is shorter than the version you took in 2016, it's possible that you have developed some 'bad habits' over time that are keeping you from scoring higher. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. Raising a 660 to the point that you can consistently score 720+ will likely require at least another 1-2 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections.

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

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Re: ESR Evaluation and Advice on preparation & exam strategies for retake  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2019, 19:55
Hi Alok322,

I’m sorry to hear about how things went with your GMAT. Looking at your ESR, it’s clear that you need to improve in all aspects of verbal to hit your 720 score goal. Here is some advice on how to do so. I’ll start with CR.

when studying Critical Reasoning, you need to ensure that you fully understand the essence of the various question types. Do you know the importance of an assumption within an argument? Can you easily spot a conclusion? Do you know how to resolve a paradox? Do you know how to properly evaluate cause and effect? Do you know how to properly weaken or strengthen an argument? These are just a few examples; you really need to take a deep dive into the individual Critical Reasoning topics to develop the necessary skills to properly attack any Critical Reasoning questions that you encounter.

As you learn each Critical Reasoning problem type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you incorrectly answered a Weaken the Argument question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage. Furthermore, as you practice Reading Comprehension, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. You can perfect your reading strategy with a lot of practice, but keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be stimulating. So, to better prepare yourself to tackle such bland passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the New York Times, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction is a bit of a different animal compared to Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. There are three aspects to getting correct answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions: what you know, such as grammar rules, what you see, such as violations of grammar rules and the logic of sentence structure, and what you do, such as carefully considering each answer choice in the context of the non-underlined portion of the sentence. To drive up your Sentence Correction score, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, the likely reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is that you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, to be successful in Sentence Correction, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending less than two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see in order to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and none of those reasons are that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answers were always the ones that sounded right, then most people most of the time would get Sentence Correction questions correct, without really knowing why the wrong answers were wrong and the correct answers were correct. So, you have to go beyond choosing what "sounds right" and learn to clearly see the logical reasons why one choice is better than all of the others.

As for the third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct, what you do, the main thing you have to do is be very careful. You have to make sure that you are truly considering the structures of sentences and the meanings conveyed rather than allowing yourself to be tricked into choosing trap answers that sound right but don't convey meanings that make sense. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice repeatedly until you start to see the differences between the choices that make all choices wrong except for one. Often, when you first look at the choices, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to put in the necessary time to see the differences between answers and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did to arrive at that answer and what you could do differently to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could do differently to extend your streak.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regimens, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

Ultimately, if you are unable to learn and practice in the manner described above, you may consider looking for additional verbal prep resources. If you are unsure of which resources to choose, check out some reviews here on GMAT Club.

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

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Good luck!

Scott Woodbury-Stewart

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Re: ESR Evaluation and Advice on preparation & exam strategies for retake  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Aug 2019, 12:09
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in my opinion, you lack stamina and confidence. I suppose from what you said, for instance, the very first question you spent 5 minutes and no clue, is an indication of the two possible reasons I mentioned.

The mocks exam are good but the reality is another .

The two tutors before me gave you an in-depth examination of the case.

I would add to read this link ... l#p1143626 and watch this video by GMATNinja

feel free to ask further.

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Re: ESR Evaluation and Advice on preparation & exam strategies for retake   [#permalink] 21 Aug 2019, 12:09
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