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GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY?

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GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY? [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2017, 14:37
Hi All,

Hoping for some advice and motivation after a roller-coaster of a week. I sincerely appreciate anyone willing to offer help!

After +500 hours of studying and 6 mock tests (including a GMAT Prep score of 760; I documented my journey here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/520-to-700-need-help-237392.html), I decided I was ready to take the GMAT. Unfortunately, my actual GMAT results from this morning’s exam were nowhere near my most recent GMAT Prep mock (I took the GMAT Prep mock 3 days before my actual exam), and I’m now confused and full of self-doubt.

I’m curious, is it possible that my GMAT Prep mock score was a fluke? I’ve been very good about recreating the testing environment for my mock exams, but certainly nothing compares to the anxiety that I felt last night and today during the test.

I also noticed that I finished both sections in record time (10 minutes left on quant and 8 minutes on verbal), yet historically I’ve always struggled with timing. Is it possible that stressed/anxiety/lack of sleep resulted in a decline in performance across both Q and V?

I’ve scheduled a second exam in 2.5 weeks and am hoping that 2 more GMAT Prep mocks and the confidence generated from taking the exam once before will help to improve my score. Has anyone else improved significantly after their first GMAT?

MGMAT CAT #1: 520 (28Q / 34V)
MGMAT CAT #2: 600 (36Q / 36V)…ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions.
MGMAT CAT #3: 650 (42Q / 37V)
MGMAT CAT #4: 650 (44Q / 35V)
MGMAT CAT #5: 700 (40Q / 45V) - ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions
GMAT Prep #6: 760 (49Q / 44V)
Actual GMAT #1: 680 (44Q/ 39V); 7 IR

Thank you so much for any help you’re able to offer!

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Re: GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY? [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2017, 18:14
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Layman24 wrote:
Hi All,

Hoping for some advice and motivation after a roller-coaster of a week. I sincerely appreciate anyone willing to offer help!

After +500 hours of studying and 6 mock tests (including a GMAT Prep score of 760; I documented my journey here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/520-to-700-need-help-237392.html), I decided I was ready to take the GMAT. Unfortunately, my actual GMAT results from this morning’s exam were nowhere near my most recent GMAT Prep mock (I took the GMAT Prep mock 3 days before my actual exam), and I’m now confused and full of self-doubt.

I’m curious, is it possible that my GMAT Prep mock score was a fluke? I’ve been very good about recreating the testing environment for my mock exams, but certainly nothing compares to the anxiety that I felt last night and today during the test.

I also noticed that I finished both sections in record time (10 minutes left on quant and 8 minutes on verbal), yet historically I’ve always struggled with timing. Is it possible that stressed/anxiety/lack of sleep resulted in a decline in performance across both Q and V?

I’ve scheduled a second exam in 2.5 weeks and am hoping that 2 more GMAT Prep mocks and the confidence generated from taking the exam once before will help to improve my score. Has anyone else improved significantly after their first GMAT?

MGMAT CAT #1: 520 (28Q / 34V)
MGMAT CAT #2: 600 (36Q / 36V)…ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions.
MGMAT CAT #3: 650 (42Q / 37V)
MGMAT CAT #4: 650 (44Q / 35V)
MGMAT CAT #5: 700 (40Q / 45V) - ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions
GMAT Prep #6: 760 (49Q / 44V)
Actual GMAT #1: 680 (44Q/ 39V); 7 IR

Thank you so much for any help you’re able to offer!
Here are my observations:

1. Your GMATPrep score can't be a fluke. No one gets a 99% score purely by luck. That said, it might have been better to stick with the original date and establish a series of high scores before taking the exam.

2. But that (point about bringing the date forward) doesn't matter much because you do have a second exam already scheduled. In my opinion, most test takers underperform on the first attempt, primarily because of, as you mentioned, test anxiety.

3. I notice that you've taken only 1 GMATPrep. Take more GMATPrep tests.

4. A lot of people have been able to improve their scores significantly (not always with just 1 additional attempt). However, taking the exam again is not what is important. What is important is the reason for the low initial score.

Test anxiety is something that your GMATPreps won't be able to recreate. But the more 760s you get on practice tests, the greater will be your confidence during the actual exam. Take a few more tests and rest well before the next attempt.
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Re: GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY? [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 04:59
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Layman24 wrote:
Hi All,

Hoping for some advice and motivation after a roller-coaster of a week. I sincerely appreciate anyone willing to offer help!

After +500 hours of studying and 6 mock tests (including a GMAT Prep score of 760; I documented my journey here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/520-to-700-need-help-237392.html), I decided I was ready to take the GMAT. Unfortunately, my actual GMAT results from this morning’s exam were nowhere near my most recent GMAT Prep mock (I took the GMAT Prep mock 3 days before my actual exam), and I’m now confused and full of self-doubt.

I’m curious, is it possible that my GMAT Prep mock score was a fluke? I’ve been very good about recreating the testing environment for my mock exams, but certainly nothing compares to the anxiety that I felt last night and today during the test.

I also noticed that I finished both sections in record time (10 minutes left on quant and 8 minutes on verbal), yet historically I’ve always struggled with timing. Is it possible that stressed/anxiety/lack of sleep resulted in a decline in performance across both Q and V?

I’ve scheduled a second exam in 2.5 weeks and am hoping that 2 more GMAT Prep mocks and the confidence generated from taking the exam once before will help to improve my score. Has anyone else improved significantly after their first GMAT?

MGMAT CAT #1: 520 (28Q / 34V)
MGMAT CAT #2: 600 (36Q / 36V)…ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions.
MGMAT CAT #3: 650 (42Q / 37V)
MGMAT CAT #4: 650 (44Q / 35V)
MGMAT CAT #5: 700 (40Q / 45V) - ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions
GMAT Prep #6: 760 (49Q / 44V)
Actual GMAT #1: 680 (44Q/ 39V); 7 IR

Thank you so much for any help you’re able to offer!


A 680 is a decent score, even for the top colleges. Of course your profile needs to shine but 680 is not a red flag. Hence any subsequent attempt you take should be with a much more relaxed mind. You already have a decent score in the bag.

As for Q49, it might be a bit exaggerated since even if the questions seemed new, they may not actually have been "new". Many test prep companies make questions based on official questions to give a more realistic practice.

Get your ESR, figure out the weaknesses in both Quant and Verbal and work on those before your next attempt.
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Re: GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY? [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 08:46
AjiteshArun & VeritasPrepKarishma,

Thank you so much for your insights...I had such a rough day yesterday, and your thoughts are helping me to rebuild my confidence. I'm sending a virtual hug to each of you :-).

I've attached my ESR report for the exam as I was hoping you might be able to help me with key takeaways. Here's what I have so far:

Verbal:
- CR was 40, RC was 51 (woo!), and SC was 35 . I plan to re-read Manhattan's SC guide and practice idioms...I believe I hit a string of rare idioms around the third quartile of questions that acted to drag my score down. Once I get more repetition with SC I think I can get my Verbal back to 95-99% range. This should help boost my score to 700+ (assuming no or only positive change in quant).

Quant
- PS was 43% vs. 60% for DS. This is frustrating as I'm typically far better at PS questions...I'm starting to think I was overconfident because of my GMAT Prep score and +500 hours of quant studying, so I neglected to catch multi-level PS questions and fell for common traps.
- Timing. My average time in the first two quartiles was less than 1:30 per question...I know it's good to create time on the test, but I think I could have gotten more questions correct in the first two quartiles, where question difficulty was lowest, if I had taken more time. This would have helped my score.
- Endurance. If you look at the avg. difficulty of questions in conjunction with the percent correct, it looks like I trend nicely through the third quartile, but flat-line by the final quartile of the test. I need to build my endurance to ensure I'm staying focused late in the game.

In summary:
- I think I was to cavalier on the quant section. This is partially because, after 500+ hours of studying mostly quant, I felt like no question type surprises me any longer. The affect of this was that I made silly mistakes and didn't read questions critically enough.
- I'm definitely in need of some serious SC review.
- I need more mock reps.

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Re: GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY? [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 09:23
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Just to add to the good comments above:

- if you get a 760 on a GMATPrep test, it's never a fluke. There's variance in the scoring of any multiple choice test (because sometimes you guess, and sometimes guesses work out well, sometimes not), and the GMAT is no exception, but that variance is small. In fact, variance in adaptive test scores is smaller than in standard tests of the same length. If you get a 760 on a real GMATPrep, it's nearly certain that your true level is 730+, and your most likely level is 760. Of course, that's assuming the GMATPrep score wasn't inflated - if you had seen some of the questions before taking the test, the score might overestimate your level somewhat.

- you do only have one GMATPrep data point. If you want a more precise estimate of your true level, you'd want to average your scores from more than one test. You should be taking greater advantage of GMATPrep regardless - it's the single most useful study resource you have, and you shouldn't be using company tests (even those from good companies) unless you're in danger of running out of official ones. It's especially important to use official tests if you're practicing pacing. The questions on company tests might not be realistically time-consuming. If they're too time-consuming, for example, then you might think pacing is a bigger issue for you than it really is, and that might lead you to rush unnecessarily on a real test and make careless mistakes.

- If your true level is, say, 760, then on a real test, if you perform 'normally', your score will be very close to 760 - you might get a 740 on a bad day, and a 780 on a good day, but your score won't vary much. But that won't be true if you do not perform 'normally'. So if you're tired, or sick, or stressed, or distracted, then you might perform worse than normal, and you could get a score quite different from 760. It sounds like that's what happened in your case - you rushed more than normal, and you experienced more stress than on your practice tests. That happens to a lot of test takers on their first attempt, so it's not something to worry about. On a second test, you'll be more comfortable with the test day experience, which will help. And if you take other realistic practice tests, and get good scores, that should help with confidence. But it sounds like you should also be forcing yourself to slow down a bit, and doing what you need to do to ensure you're relaxed, because you probably made careless errors you don't normally make. Try doing that on your diagnostic tests, and hopefully that leads to consistently good results.

Good luck!
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Re: GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY? [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 19:31
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Layman24 wrote:
I've attached my ESR report for the exam as I was hoping you might be able to help me with key takeaways. Here's what I have so far:
You were rushing through the third set of questions in verbal. In the first two sets you got only very tough questions wrong, but in the third that difficulty level dropped from high to somewhere in between medium and high. And your average time in the third set was 1:12.

Maybe you just wanted to get the section over with. However, if you find yourself in the same situation next time, just take some time out to take a deep breath and get back to the pace that you are comfortable with :-D

All the best!
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Re: GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY? [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 20:25
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Hi Layman24,

I've sent you a PM with some notes/suggestions.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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Re: GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY? [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2017, 13:38
EMPOWERgmatRichC,

You're terrific! :-D It's incredibly kind of you to spend time reviewing my ESR and offering your insights. Your affirmation of my suspicions and view on the best go-forward strategy is incredibly comforting. These message boards help me to sustain my excitement and motivation (I was at a loss two days ago). I sincerely appreciate it good sir!

I'm looking forward to employing these strategies over the coming weeks when I take 2-3 more GMAT Prep mocks before sitting for the test again on 8/25. I'll be sure to report back on those scores.

Thanks again Rich!

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Re: GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY? [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2017, 13:43
AjiteshArun,

Thanks for taking a look! I totally agree with you. I just need to slow down and do the work to make sure I don't make any silly mistakes or misread the questions.

Thanks for your help!

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Re: GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY? [#permalink]

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New post 13 Aug 2017, 10:12
Hey Guys!

Providing a brief update for those interested….

Pursuant to everyone’s advice, I took the last few days to focus in on identifying and correcting my knowledge gaps in verbal and quant as well as refining my test taking strategy. This morning, after doing my best to replicate the testing environment (earplugs, generic professional room, 8a start, scheduled breaks, etc.), I took my second GMAT Prep exam. I’m happy to report that I generated a score that was consistent with my first GMAT Prep score. This is great news as it confirms that my first GMAT Prep score wasn’t a fluke and that I’m capable of a higher score on the actual exam.

Here’s what I’ve been focusing on since my failed first attempt at the GMAT:

Verbal:
- SC. After some general review I noticed my understanding of subordinating conjunctions (, which applies to both nouns and noun phrases) and comparisons (like vs. as) wasn’t quite perfect. Lucky for me, these are easy fixes!
- CR. I now know how to tackle inference problems with 100% accuracy!

Quant:
- Statistics (mean & median with unknowns, constant intervals, etc.)
- General practice – can always use practice to keep the skills sharp.

Test Strategy:
- Don’t rush! Read the question critically and make sure you exhaust potential wrong answers.
- Do the work…Rich had great advice here…even if I thought the calculation was easy I wrote it down on the pad.

Test Results:

Mocks:
MGMAT CAT #1: 520 (28Q / 34V)
MGMAT CAT #2: 600 (36Q / 36V)…ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions.
MGMAT CAT #3: 650 (42Q / 37V)
MGMAT CAT #4: 650 (44Q / 35V)
MGMAT CAT #5: 700 (40Q / 45V)…ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions
GMAT Prep #1: 760 (49Q / 44V)
GMAT Prep #2: 740 (47Q / 45V); 8 IR

Actual:
Actual GMAT #1: 680 (44Q/ 39V); 7 IR

I’m planning to take another GMAT Prep mock in 7 days (3 total) and another actual GMAT on 8/25. I'll report back after my next GMAT Prep mock!

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Re: GMAT Prep = 760, but Actual GMAT 680...WHY?   [#permalink] 13 Aug 2017, 10:12
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