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From 700+ scores in mock tests to 640 on the actual GMAT (1st GMAT)

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From 700+ scores in mock tests to 640 on the actual GMAT (1st GMAT)  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2019, 14:02
GMAT Club is place from where I've always taken a lot of information as well as inspiration. Today I want to share, with those who are reading this article, my GMAT experience. D-DAY 16th October 2019

640 q47 v31

A bit of background: I have a bachelors in Engineering (Electrical and Electronics) and consider myself quite fluent in English, though it isn't my native tongue. Having solved Engineering Calculus and read many novels throughout my life, I thought of myself to be a worthy candidate of 700+ score. However, reality is a brick wall that hits you point blank while you conjure up your glass dreams. The following paragraph will emphasize the epiphanies I had post writing the actual GMAT. It was a humbling experience which I want to share with every first time GMAT test taker. Maybe someone could learn from the mistakes I made and not repeat them.

After having briefly skimmed through the material and understanding the layout of the GMAT, I finally started prepping for the exam in January '19 with the aim of appearing for it on March 31. But a combination of lack of focus and laziness resulted in me perennially pushing forward the exam date (Mistake #1).
I gave a number of mocks including 2 gmatpreps, 1 free veritas prep and a number of princeton review mocks. My score throughout the testing period was inconsistent because in some exams I would pause in within sections (Mistake #2) or would take too long of a break between two sections (Mistake #3). I had even gone to the extent of searching up the questions on GMATclub WHILE giving mock tests!!! Biggest of the Mistakes #4!! All This resulted in too long of a prep time (Mistake #5).
Another factor that played into my bad score was the fact that I was confused about my approach to the questions in the quant section (mistake #6). As GMATNinja
pointed out in one of his articles, it is extremely important to know the approach you prefer and the one that suits you best and to apply this solidified approach on the actual GMAT. This means that as soon as you glance at the question stem and answer choices, you already know what to do and what your approach is going to be like. The 2 minute time frame isn't going to allow you to solve the questions twice (in most questions) using a different approach each time.

The inflated and biased scores kept me in a Utopian delusion that my GMAT would be a breeze and that my score wouldn't be anything below a 680-690 at worst. But as you can make out from my score I was indeed living in a bubble which burst on D-day and gave my hubris a run for its money when I realized that a 700+ score is no cake walk.

Here is the list of materials I used:
1. MGMAT guides both quant and verbal
2. OG 17 and 18
3. Princeton Review Excelarator Course
4. Powerscore CR bible
5. Bits and excerpts from Sandeep Gupta's Material (IVY Gmat/ Top one percent)

I'd love to share my GMAT mock scores but that would be rather pointless since I've realized the tests that I scored 700+ in were either through cheating within the sections or by pausing within them. Here's a few points I'd like to share that I feel would benefit both myself and those who would probably be in the same situation as me:

1. Do not cheat on the mocks by any means. The feeling of seeing a great score is indeed very satisfying however it is a false one and you're going to end up developing a habit like I did. This will lead to nothing but cheating yourself. A failure in the mocks is indicative of your current performance so its better to face it rather than to see a lower score on the real exam which, by the way, will kill your morale.

2. Do not prolong your prep time too much. I don't need to elaborate on this point as you'll find many articles that say the same.

3. Solidfy your approach. In the quant and verbal sections. Identify which technique suits you best and stick to it. Don't keep experimenting with your methods of approach till your last day.

4. Aim for quality of questions not quantity. Identify which answers are correct for what reason and why are the wrong answers wrong.

In conclusion I would like to get inputs from people reading this article as to what I should do. Quant had been my weak point and I thought of verbal as my strength. I consistently got v40-42 in my preps even without pausing and in fact got a v45 in the first Verbal CAT from Gmatclub, which I redeemed using the points I had accumulated. I fail to understand what went wrong in the exam as I thought I did my verbal section quite well as the questions kept getting difficult as the exam progressed. V-Q-IR-AWA was the order I chose. I definitely plan to write the GMAT again but I'm not sure when and am also unsure of the way to move forward from here. Expert guides please pay heed and help me out.
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Re: From 700+ scores in mock tests to 640 on the actual GMAT (1st GMAT)  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2019, 14:31
Hi syedmohammad211,

First off, a 640/Q47 is a solid Score, so it could be enough to get you into your first-choice School. As such, a retest might not be necessary. You seem to understand some of the ways in which you were not properly training for the GMAT, so retesting - with the goal of scoring higher - would make sense. From what you describe, your studies have been 'book heavy'; unfortunately, many Test Takers who study in that way end up getting 'stuck' at a particular score level. Even the best books are limited in what they can teach you; they also can't force you to approach questions in a certain way and their explanations are often one-sided. This is meant to say that you would likely find it beneficial to invest in some new, non-book resources for this next phase of your studies.

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

1) Over the last 3 months, how many hours did you typically study each week?
2) 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)?

3) What is your overall goal score?
4) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
5) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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

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Re: From 700+ scores in mock tests to 640 on the actual GMAT (1st GMAT)  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2019, 06:59
Hi syedmohammad211,

I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT. The good news is that Q47 is a pretty solid quant score, so nice job with quant.

Regarding verbal, since you said that you took the verbal sections following test-like conditions, you are capable of scoring higher than V31. Thus, it’s quite possible that nerves, stress, tiredness, or a combination of all three negatively affected your test-day performance. However, it’s also possible that you have some lingering weaknesses that were exposed on test day. Although I’m unsure of how you prepared, it’s possible that, in your preparation, particularly in verbal, 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, particularly for verbal, 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.

For verbal specifically, you have to become more skilled at clearly defining the differences between trap choices and correct answers. Otherwise, you will get stuck guessing between two choices or be surprised to find that you incorrectly answered questions that you thought you answered correctly. Becoming more skilled in this way takes carefully analyzing all of the answer choices to lots of verbal questions to develop an eye for the logical differences between the choices. In other words, you have to go beyond answering practice questions and reading explanations to doing deep analysis of questions to learn to see everything that is going on in them.

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!

Scott Woodbury-Stewart

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Re: From 700+ scores in mock tests to 640 on the actual GMAT (1st GMAT)  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Oct 2019, 18:30
640/47Q is sufficient for European and Canadian top business schools. Just balance it with strong recommendation and wokk experience.

Good luck on your decision (retake gmat or apply schools with existing gmat)

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Re: From 700+ scores in mock tests to 640 on the actual GMAT (1st GMAT)   [#permalink] 26 Oct 2019, 18:30
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