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# First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score

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Joined: 03 Dec 2019
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First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score  [#permalink]

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14 Dec 2019, 09:41
Hello,

Today I did my first real GMAT test, but I only scored 550 (Q40, V26, IR 8). I was shocked when I saw this score (deleted it); as my first mock test score (GMAC official test 1) was 580 without prep. I have to say that I lost it very early in the test, especially Verbal was a real nightmare for me. My first three questions in verbal were Sentence Correction, which is by far my weakest segment (I struggle even with easy questions in sentence correction). After that I got two RC extremely long passages about nature, which led to me having a timing deficit. Also quant is a lot harder on the real test than in the mock tests, one of my final questions was for instance one about a sphere in a cube (which is categorised as a HARD 65% question on GMAT club); while my score is only 550 (this was not a sub-600 level question?!). I have to conclude that I find the real GMAT significantly more difficult than the official mock tests, in both verbal and quant.

The only positive point for me was the IR score, which I see as OK for someone who didn't practice IR at all. But, this segment doesn't matter at all for the programme I want to apply for. I only need to score 600 as a threshold score for admittance into a particular program.

History:
GMAC Test 1: 580 (Q44, V25, IR 0) 18-11 - almost no prep, only familiarized myself with DS and PS with +- 50 questions in the Q OG guide. NO verbal prep.
GMAC Test 2: 600 (Q42, V31, IR 0) 09-12 - I was disappointed with the progress I made after prepping for three weeks.
GMAC Test 3: 640 (Q46, V31, IR 0) 10-12 - I was happy with this score - significantly above the score I needed.
GMAC Test 4: 580 (Q43, V27, IR 0) 13-12 - Lost a bit of confidence after seeing this score (made a lot less errors than with the 640 score, but I missed the first 4 questions in Quant and the first 3 in Verbal).
GMAT Real Test 1: 550(Q40, V26, IR 8) 14-12

More statistics; I prepped with all the OG 2020 guides, with about 750 of the questions answered this is my error log:
% Correct % Incorrect
DS Easy 90% 10%
DS Medium 57% 43%
DS Hard 69% 31%
DS Very Hard 25% 75%

PS Easy 74% 26%
PS Medium 69% 31%
PS Hard 50% 50%
PS Very Hard 55% 45%

CR Easy 81% 19%
CR Medium 68% 32%
CR Hard 69% 31%
CR Very Hard 56% 44%

RC Easy 89% 11%
RC Medium 71% 29%
RC Hard 50% 50%
RC Very Hard - / -

SC Easy 78% 22%
SC Medium 42% 58%
SC Hard 65% 35%
SC Very Hard 45% 55%

I really don't see how my GMAT score compares to how I relatively scored against the OG quide questions I answered. What I find weird is that, on average, I tend to answer more hard (generally perceived) questions right than medium questions?

The areas where I need to improve are, based on my own findings:
Sentence correction - When reviewing my mock tests, about 80% of the verbal errors I made are in sentence correction. I really don't see why one answer is more correct than the other.
Reading comprehension - Without having the ability to mark certain key passages in the real test (like you can in the book), I struggle with large texts. Does anyone have a trick for this?

I need to have a 600 score within the next 2 months. Can anyone give me advice in how to tackle this issues I 'created' (scoring lower than my first mock test)?
Sloan MIT School Moderator
Joined: 17 Jul 2018
Posts: 810
Re: First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score  [#permalink]

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14 Dec 2019, 13:12
M1ke wrote:
Hello,

Today I did my first real GMAT test, but I only scored 550 (Q40, V26, IR 8). I was shocked when I saw this score (deleted it); as my first mock test score (GMAC official test 1) was 580 without prep. I have to say that I lost it very early in the test, especially Verbal was a real nightmare for me. My first three questions in verbal were Sentence Correction, which is by far my weakest segment (I struggle even with easy questions in sentence correction). After that I got two RC extremely long passages about nature, which led to me having a timing deficit. Also quant is a lot harder on the real test than in the mock tests, one of my final questions was for instance one about a sphere in a cube (which is categorised as a HARD 65% question on GMAT club); while my score is only 550 (this was not a sub-600 level question?!). I have to conclude that I find the real GMAT significantly more difficult than the official mock tests, in both verbal and quant.

The only positive point for me was the IR score, which I see as OK for someone who didn't practice IR at all. But, this segment doesn't matter at all for the programme I want to apply for. I only need to score 600 as a threshold score for admittance into a particular program.

History:
GMAC Test 1: 580 (Q44, V25, IR 0) 18-11 - almost no prep, only familiarized myself with DS and PS with +- 50 questions in the Q OG guide. NO verbal prep.
GMAC Test 2: 600 (Q42, V31, IR 0) 09-12 - I was disappointed with the progress I made after prepping for three weeks.
GMAC Test 3: 640 (Q46, V31, IR 0) 10-12 - I was happy with this score - significantly above the score I needed.
GMAC Test 4: 580 (Q43, V27, IR 0) 13-12 - Lost a bit of confidence after seeing this score (made a lot less errors than with the 640 score, but I missed the first 4 questions in Quant and the first 3 in Verbal).
GMAT Real Test 1: 550(Q40, V26, IR 8) 14-12

More statistics; I prepped with all the OG 2020 guides, with about 750 of the questions answered this is my error log:
% Correct % Incorrect
DS Easy 90% 10%
DS Medium 57% 43%
DS Hard 69% 31%
DS Very Hard 25% 75%

PS Easy 74% 26%
PS Medium 69% 31%
PS Hard 50% 50%
PS Very Hard 55% 45%

CR Easy 81% 19%
CR Medium 68% 32%
CR Hard 69% 31%
CR Very Hard 56% 44%

RC Easy 89% 11%
RC Medium 71% 29%
RC Hard 50% 50%
RC Very Hard - / -

SC Easy 78% 22%
SC Medium 42% 58%
SC Hard 65% 35%
SC Very Hard 45% 55%

I really don't see how my GMAT score compares to how I relatively scored against the OG quide questions I answered. What I find weird is that, on average, I tend to answer more hard (generally perceived) questions right than medium questions?

The areas where I need to improve are, based on my own findings:
Sentence correction - When reviewing my mock tests, about 80% of the verbal errors I made are in sentence correction. I really don't see why one answer is more correct than the other.
Reading comprehension - Without having the ability to mark certain key passages in the real test (like you can in the book), I struggle with large texts. Does anyone have a trick for this?

I need to have a 600 score within the next 2 months. Can anyone give me advice in how to tackle this issues I 'created' (scoring lower than my first mock test)?

If you have any specific schools in mind may be 580- 600 doesn't make a difference
https://gmatclub.com/forum/beginner-to- ... l#p2313182
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Intern
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Posts: 11
Re: First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score  [#permalink]

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14 Dec 2019, 14:01
If you have any specific schools in mind may be 580- 600 doesn't make a difference
https://gmatclub.com/forum/beginner-to- ... l#p2313182

I'm a non-native from Europe, I finished a Bachelor's degree (which was not in English) and now I want to apply for a Master's degree (which are all in English).

The school I am applying for is very strict. Im using the GMAT to compensate a lower GPA (my GPA is 7,46 instead of the required 7,50; we use a scale of 1-10 in Europe). The school holds a 600 threshold for admittance; 590 is denied without question according to the admissions office. According to GMAC the average GMAT is 640 for their MBA program (but im applying for a Masters program). The school is most local to me, but by accident also has the highest demands for admission in my country. It also holds relatively good connections with other international schools for exchange, which is the main reason why I am applying there.
Sloan MIT School Moderator
Joined: 17 Jul 2018
Posts: 810
Re: First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score  [#permalink]

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14 Dec 2019, 14:39
M1ke wrote:
If you have any specific schools in mind may be 580- 600 doesn't make a difference
https://gmatclub.com/forum/beginner-to- ... l#p2313182

I'm a non-native from Europe, I finished a Bachelor's degree (which was not in English) and now I want to apply for a Master's degree (which are all in English).

The school I am applying for is very strict. Im using the GMAT to compensate a lower GPA (my GPA is 7,46 instead of the required 7,50; we use a scale of 1-10 in Europe). The school holds a 600 threshold for admittance; 590 is denied without question according to the admissions office. According to GMAC the average GMAT is 640 for their MBA program (but im applying for a Masters program). The school is most local to me, but by accident also has the highest demands for admission in my country. It also holds relatively good connections with other international schools for exchange, which is the main reason why I am applying there.

Follow my strategy in that link, definitely join a good GMAT tutor, ask jamboree if they can give you a website access, it has all the official material there was, and is. It helped me too
E-gmat has been praised by a lot of people but give what you think a go. Jamboree online access will actually give you access to a few video lessons, all you need to prep for GMAT.

You will need to work a lil in quant, may be get the \$50 all in one math revolution for a month and see how it goes

I am pretty sure you will do good

I stuck with all the official material and got a good GMAT score of 700.
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Re: First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score  [#permalink]

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14 Dec 2019, 20:02
Hi M1ke,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as hoped. 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) How long have you studied? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used besides the Official Guide?

Goals:
4) Is your overall Goal Score 600 or something else?
5) Are you interested in just that one School or do you want to also apply to any others?
6) What is the exact application deadlines for each of the Programs that you are interested in?

Thankfully, with a 550, you are closer to a 600+ than you probably realize. With the proper consistent, guided study, you could potentially hit that Score Goal in a month - and since you have MORE time than that, you could potentially score well above 600.

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

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Intern
Joined: 03 Dec 2019
Posts: 11
Re: First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score  [#permalink]

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15 Dec 2019, 10:40
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi M1ke,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as hoped. 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) How long have you studied? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used besides the Official Guide?

Goals:
4) Is your overall Goal Score 600 or something else?
5) Are you interested in just that one School or do you want to also apply to any others?
6) What is the exact application deadlines for each of the Programs that you are interested in?

Thankfully, with a 550, you are closer to a 600+ than you probably realize. With the proper consistent, guided study, you could potentially hit that Score Goal in a month - and since you have MORE time than that, you could potentially score well above 600.

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

1) I studied for about 2 hours per workday on average, answering about 40 questions per day (and noting the ones I missed). In the last week before the test I intensified to about 5-6 hours a day, only with detrimental results.
2) I only used the Official Guides, with the occasional question on this website.
4) Goal score is >=600, more is nice to have but definitely not necessary.
5) At the moment I am only interested in one school, as they have the best connections for student exchanges. I can go to other schools (with lower demands) as backup, but I would rather not.
6) Deadline is in May, but the program may be full before the application deadline. Note, I also have to complete a TOEFL test besides the GMAT before the application deadline.

With regards to my Verbal score:
Sentence correction is, by far, my weakest category (I feel like it's dragging my score down).
In the OG book, I made the error of marking important passages in the Reading Comprehension section; a thing which is not possible in the real GMAT test. I need another method which I can use to summarize large passages, without taking too much time.
My strongest category in Verbal is, by far, Critical Reasoning.
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Re: First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score  [#permalink]

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15 Dec 2019, 15:08
Hi M1ke,

As you've come to realize, there's a big difference between doing well on a 'block' of Verbal practice questions in a book and performing at that same level during the Verbal section of an adaptive Test (whether it's the Official GMAT or a practice CAT/mock). To start, there are fundamental differences in the 'mechanics' involved; reading out of a book (and writing in it) is different from reading off of a computer screen, while you take notes and refer back-and-forth. In addition, the computer will throw questions at you in a random order (for example, you won't see 10 CRs in a row - so you have to be able to 'switch gears' and be ready for RC, SC or CR at any time) and the difficulty of the questions will vary over the length of the Exam (based on your performance). This is meant to say that using more computer-based resources during this next phase of your studies would almost certainly help you to better prepare for what you will face on the Official GMAT.

Based on your first Official Score, you could pick up the additional points that you are looking for in just the Quant section, just the Verbal section or a 'mix' of the two. This means that you do not necessarily need to improve a lot in SC - but doing so would likely help you on the TOEFL and since you are planning to apply to English-based Master's Programs, improving your grammar/idiom knowledge and SC skills would almost certainly be beneficial to you (for when you are in School and beyond).

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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 ★★★★★
Intern
Joined: 03 Dec 2019
Posts: 11
Re: First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score  [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2019, 14:25
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi M1ke,

As you've come to realize, there's a big difference between doing well on a 'block' of Verbal practice questions in a book and performing at that same level during the Verbal section of an adaptive Test (whether it's the Official GMAT or a practice CAT/mock). To start, there are fundamental differences in the 'mechanics' involved; reading out of a book (and writing in it) is different from reading off of a computer screen, while you take notes and refer back-and-forth. In addition, the computer will throw questions at you in a random order (for example, you won't see 10 CRs in a row - so you have to be able to 'switch gears' and be ready for RC, SC or CR at any time) and the difficulty of the questions will vary over the length of the Exam (based on your performance). This is meant to say that using more computer-based resources during this next phase of your studies would almost certainly help you to better prepare for what you will face on the Official GMAT.

Based on your first Official Score, you could pick up the additional points that you are looking for in just the Quant section, just the Verbal section or a 'mix' of the two. This means that you do not necessarily need to improve a lot in SC - but doing so would likely help you on the TOEFL and since you are planning to apply to English-based Master's Programs, improving your grammar/idiom knowledge and SC skills would almost certainly be beneficial to you (for when you are in School and beyond).

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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

You are right about blocks of questions, and about questions varying in difficulty level.

I think I can commit to at least 4 hours a day. Ideally I want to retry the GMAT after or in the next 4 weeks, get it done so I can move on to other requirements for admission.
To improve my score, I think verbal is the category where time invested will yield the highest return for me. I also need to review some specific math subjects, as some subjects are completely new to me (the GMAT is the first test where I encountered questions about prime numbers, even/oneven, divisionability, etc.).
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GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
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Re: First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score  [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2019, 16:37
Hi M1ke,

If you want to retest in the next 4 weeks (as opposed to 2 months from now), then you won't have the necessarily time to properly train and improve in all of the areas in the Quant AND Verbal sections - so we would have to focus more on one of them (whichever one you are most comfortable with). You would still have to do some general review and practice in the other section though - to keep your skills at their current level in that section.

We can certainly put together a Verbal-focused Study Plan for you, but before you commit to spending most of your time on that section, I'd like to know a bit more about the Master's Program that you're interested in. Many Schools view an Applicant's Quant Scaled Score as an indicator of how that Applicant might handle the 'academic side' of the Program - and a Q40 won't impress anyone. Depending on the 'focus' of that Program, your Quant Scaled Score might be far more important than your Verbal Scaled Score (for example, Finance Programs tend to much a much higher emphasis on an Applicant's Quant Scaled Score) - meaning that your time might be better spent by focusing on the Quant section instead of the Verbal section.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score  [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2019, 21:15
Hi M1ke,

I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT. Looking at your study routine, I see that you followed a strategy of “practice first and figure the rest out later” -- in other words, doing practice problems before understanding the concepts on which those problems are based, and thus trying to learn solely from reading solutions to problems. Following such a study plan leads to disorganized studying and ultimately holds you back from improving your quant and verbal skills. To truly improve your quant and verbal skills, you should follow more of a linear and structured study plan, one that allows you to learn each GMAT quant and verbal topic individually, and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery.

If you’d like more specific advice on how to improve your quant and verbal skills, feel free to reach out. Also, if you decide to use some new prep materials, check out the reviews here on GMAT Club of the best quant and verbal courses.
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Re: First Real GMAT lower than first 'No Prep' GMAC Official test score   [#permalink] 16 Dec 2019, 21:15
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