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# GMAC CAT Practice Scores in Free Fall - 5 Days Until Test Day

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Intern
Joined: 03 Jun 2018
Posts: 6
GMAC CAT Practice Scores in Free Fall - 5 Days Until Test Day  [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2019, 19:15
Asking GMAT Experts here because I'm at a bit of a loss at what to do...

Background:

- Study Time: ~13 months on and off; 5 months consistent studying (~30 hours per week)
- Study Materials: Magoosh GMAT Prep (completed), GMAT Club Forum, OG18 (completed)
- Test Date: Saturday, 01/26 8:00 a.m.
- Target Score: 740 - 760

- Previous Practice Exams (all GMAC official exams):
> CAT #1 - 770 (50Q/45V) [full, semi-realistic conditions - ~1.5 hours later than exam time] 12/08/2018
> CAT #2 - 740 (48Q/44V) [full, realistic conditions] 01/12/2019
> CAT #3 - 720 (47Q/42V) [full, realistic conditions] 01/19/2019
> CAT #4 - 710 (44Q/44V) [partial - no AWA or IR, non-realistic conditions - night time] 01/21/2019

My CAT Practice scores seem to be in a free-fall with only 5 days remaining before the test. I'm not sure what is going on... my first practice exam was after completing the Magoosh prep + 1-month GMAT Club forum questions in December. I scored a 770 and was ecstatic. I spent the rest of December (sans holidays) and January going through the OG18 prep materials and completed all questions. Overall percent correct by question type/difficulty were consistent with what I made on Magoosh.

After getting back in the swing of things in January, I started realistic test prep (waking up at 5:30 a.m., driving the hour down to the testing site, ear plugs only, erasable scratch pad, etc.) with remaining CATs. My first test on 01/12 came in at a 740, which I was a bit dissapointed in because I dropped 2 points in Quant and 1 in Verbal, but I wasn't overly worried. Figured as long as CAT #3 was in between the first two I'd be in the clear...

Sadly, CAT #3 (this past weekend) came in at a 730, with another 2 full points dropped in Verbal and 1 in Quant. I had very poor time management and ended up having to guess on last 5 or so Quant questions (didn't work out so well...). Verbal I had some issues on Critical Reasoning that I didn't before and also dropped a RC due to timing issues. On the advice of a friend who is an LSAT tutor, I worked on my skipping strategy (particularly for Quant) and took the rest of the weekend off.

Today, I took CAT #4 after work (didn't attempt AWA or IR due to time commitment) using my new skipping strategy, and ended up with a 710. I can't say I was super shocked to see that score.. I could tell during Quant that these questions were too easy to be doing well. I did fairly well on timing, though I ended up guessing on the last question. I did manage to stem the bleeding with Verbal (back up to a 44), which I attribute to going back to the basics a bit on Critical Reasoning.

At this point I know I'm not really going to learn anything new, but I also know that I am clearly capable of testing at a high level.

So now with my GMAT journey outlined above, I come to the experts - is there anything I can do to get my brain back on track?? Any ideas what is going on and/or suggestions for how to remedy?
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Posts: 2089
Location: India
GMAT 1: 780 Q50 V51
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Re: GMAC CAT Practice Scores in Free Fall - 5 Days Until Test Day  [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2019, 20:32
1
caljwill wrote:
- Previous Practice Exams (all GMAC official exams):
> CAT #1 - 770 (50Q/45V) [full, semi-realistic conditions - ~1.5 hours later than exam time] 12/08/2018
> CAT #2 - 740 (48Q/44V) [full, realistic conditions] 01/12/2019
> CAT #3 - 720 (47Q/42V) [full, realistic conditions] 01/19/2019
> CAT #4 - 710 (44Q/44V) [partial - no AWA or IR, non-realistic conditions - night time] 01/21/2019

My CAT Practice scores seem to be in a free-fall with only 5 days remaining before the test. I'm not sure what is going on... my first practice exam was after completing the Magoosh prep + 1-month GMAT Club forum questions in December. I scored a 770 and was ecstatic. I spent the rest of December (sans holidays) and January going through the OG18 prep materials and completed all questions. Overall percent correct by question type/difficulty were consistent with what I made on Magoosh.
Your scores are not in free fall. It's a good idea to ignore the outliers before coming to any conclusions about what your score is likely to be, so that 770 and the Q44 are "out". Look at them as scores that you are could (but are not very likely to) get.

caljwill wrote:
Sadly, CAT #3 (this past weekend) came in at a 730, with another 2 full points dropped in Verbal and 1 in Quant. I had very poor time management and ended up having to guess on last 5 or so Quant questions (didn't work out so well...). Verbal I had some issues on Critical Reasoning that I didn't before and also dropped a RC due to timing issues.
There is really no significant difference between a 740 and a 730 (or a 720). You're doing well, and some variation in scores is normal.

caljwill wrote:
On the advice of a friend who is an LSAT tutor, I worked on my skipping strategy (particularly for Quant) and took the rest of the weekend off.
What is this strategy that you are now using? I don't think that you really had to "skip" more than a couple of questions when you got that 770.

caljwill wrote:
So now with my GMAT journey outlined above, I come to the experts - is there anything I can do to get my brain back on track?? Any ideas what is going on and/or suggestions for how to remedy?
Don't spend too much time worrying about your scores: you are doing extremely well in verbal and quite well in quant. So some light revision, and maybe one last official practice test (just for confidence/finalizing your timing strategy, no need to try to recreate exam day conditions too closely).

Finally, all the best! You are capable of a 760+ score, but don't focus on that number so much that your score ends up dropping.
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Posts: 6
Re: GMAC CAT Practice Scores in Free Fall - 5 Days Until Test Day  [#permalink]

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23 Jan 2019, 22:17
I appreciate the perspective here.

After some additional analysis on my CATs, I noticed that my percent missed on the last 6 questions had dropped significantly, which I interpreted as indicative of a timing issue. Particularly on the last CAT where I missed 4 in a row at the end, I imagine this had a significant impact on my score, even if the algorithm had somewhat already dialed in my testing ability.

Over the past few days I've done ~5 full-scale quant run-throughts (31 questions, 62 minutes, Magoosh adaptive) and am now finishing around 2-5 minutes early. The core focus has been making the timing gates at Q11, 20, & 25. My accuracy is a little low, between 9 - 11 questions missed, but its usually about 80% or more "hard" difficulty. This seems in line with my first CAT, where I missed 9 questions. I'm missing the same amount of questions, but controlling more of which questions I'm missing.

Re: skipping strategy, I pretty much always skip 3-part venn diagrams and any of the more complicated "x in terms of y" questions. Based on my error log, those questions just have not clicked and no matter how much time I spend, I get them wrong. Even if I'm doing well on time, I try to avoid even attempting, less I end up getting stuck in a hole and burn 5 minutes.

With my updated timing practice I've been trying to move very quickly through questions, even if I'm less certain about the answer choices. No more plugging in numbers to make sure the answer is correct. It feels a bit "fast and loose" to take the test this way, but I seem to be keeping similar accuracy. Not sure if this is the appropriate strategy to take, but it certainly is reducing the number of questions I am straight guessing on at the end. Would be curious your (or any other expert's) thoughts on this...

I've opted not to take another practice test... if I end up needing to retake, I'd like to keep the two remaining GMAC test available for me. Planning on taking Friday off from studying before the test day, so tomorrow I'm planning to do one more Quant-timing run, a bit of CR & RC to freshen up, then a number of easy problems to establish a good base. Again, would be curious on any one else's thoughts on last day prep...

Will certainly plan for a (hopefully positive) debrief after Saturday.
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Re: GMAC CAT Practice Scores in Free Fall - 5 Days Until Test Day  [#permalink]

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24 Jan 2019, 11:07
Hi caljwill,

Keep up the positive thoughts, try to relax, and crush the test!! Let me know how things turn out.
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Re: GMAC CAT Practice Scores in Free Fall - 5 Days Until Test Day   [#permalink] 24 Jan 2019, 11:07
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# GMAC CAT Practice Scores in Free Fall - 5 Days Until Test Day

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