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Help... Need new strategy for verbal

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Help... Need new strategy for verbal [#permalink]

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New post 28 Aug 2017, 11:43
I just took the GMAT for my second time and got a 660 (Q47/V34), which was only a 10 point improvement over my first (Q47/V33). I am EXTREMELY frustrated with this.. I have been getting 690+ on my practice tests (EP1 and EP2) - usually I get anywhere from Q47-49 and V38-44. I am happy with my quant score - that's where I usually test out (I got Q49 once.. good day I guess). But the verbal part is absolutely killing me.

I have read through all the MGMAT Verbal books, the Powerscore CR book, and all of the OG questions. I'm at a loss as to what to do... I KNOW I can do better, but for some reason I just perform poorly on the test day.

Any suggestions or ideas?

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Re: Help... Need new strategy for verbal [#permalink]

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New post 28 Aug 2017, 16:22
Hi jra558,

First off, a 660/Q47 is a strong score (it's right around the 80th percentile overall), so it could be enough to get you into your first-choice School. As such, a retest might not be necessary. Depending on the Schools that you plan to apply to, you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile. There's a Forum full of them here:

http://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admission ... tants-124/

When these types of score drops occur (in this case in the Verbal section), the two likely "causes" involve either something that was unrealistic during practice or something that was surprising (or not accounted for) on Test Day. If you can answer a few questions, then we should be able to figure this out:

When you took your CATs:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
2) Did you take them at home?
3) Did you take them in the same order as you took the sections on Test Day?
4) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
5) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
6) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 28 Aug 2017, 16:57
Rich - thanks for the response! See m answers below and let me know wha you think.

When you took your CATs:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
For the most part, yes. There may have been one or two that I only did the V and Q sections. However I always made sure to do at least the V and Q sections in that order because that's how I wanted to test.
At first I tried Q then V, but seeing as how I have been consistently hitting Q47+, I found that changing it up seemed to help me more on the verbal side without risking any degradation to quant.

My results are as follows (all first time at taking it):
6/11/17 Default Pack Test 1: 660 Q43/V38
6/18/17 Default Pack Test 2: 640 W43/V33
7/2/17 EP1 Test 1: 660 Q47/V34
7/15/17 REAL TEST: 650 Q47/V33
7/30/17 EP Test 2: 690 Q49/V35
8/6/17 EP2 Test 1: 730 Q47/V44
8/11/17 EP2 Test 2: 690 Q47/V38
8/28/17 REAL TEST 2: 660 Q47/V34

2) Did you take them at home?
Yes - it is where i have done al of my studying. I know this can be a factor, but I have been very diligent to make it as "test like" as possible - strict break times, no phone, no interruptions, etc.

3) Did you take them in the same order as you took the sections on Test Day?
The last four, yes.

4) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
Yes - always in the morning

5) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
Not that I can remember..
6) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE?
Between the last practice test and my second real test, I retook the old Exam Packs as practice for timing and refresh. I know my scores would be inflated here, but I was consistently getting V40+ on the retakes.

Looking back - I think the gaps between the last practice tests and the real test may have something to do with it... I was feeling really good after I took the EP2 tests (as my scores indicated) but the lag between those and the real test could have affected me? That lag was due to some scheduling conflicts/earliest possible available dates.

Like I said, I KNOW I can hit a V38+, but I just keep falling short on test day. I feel like I'm falling in and out of "peak performance" and I don't know how to stay there, if that makes sense? I have worked so hard on this, and I feel very confident on the quant side. I just feel like I'm so close to being able to break the 700 mark if I could just round out verbal.

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Re: Help... Need new strategy for verbal [#permalink]

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New post 28 Aug 2017, 20:07
Hi jra558,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, most of your CAT score results - and your Official results - show that you essentially performed the same each time (650 +/- a few points). In your first post in this thread, you stated that you were "usually" scoring V38 - V44, but that's not accurate. The V44 is clearly an 'outlier' that you never got close to again - and it came just one week after scoring a V35. Maybe you faced some questions that you had already seen or maybe you got really lucky on that CAT - in any case, we can't say that that was an accurate reflection of your Verbal skills.

From your last post, there were a few 'red flags' in terms of how you took your CATs. Before we discuss those issues though, I have a few additional questions about the lead-up to Test Day and Test Day itself:

1) What did you do in the 3 days before your GMAT?
2) How did you sleep the night before your Test?
3) How long was the ride to the Test Center from your home?
4) Were there any distractions at the facility or during the Test?
5) What did you do during the two 8-minute breaks?
6) Did you finish any sections early?
7) Did you have to rush to finish any sections (and guess on questions just to finish on time)?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 28 Aug 2017, 20:21
Yeah I knew the 44 was really lucky. I guess I was just feeling like I was trending up at those last 2 exams.

1) What did you do in the 3 days before your GMAT?
Friday - work and then light study
Saturday - retook one of the official tests. Q49, V44. But I knew this was obviously inflated. I just wanted to touch up on timing.

2) How did you sleep the night before your Test?
Not very well. I woke up at about 4:30 an couldn't go back to sleep. This is pretty typical for me whenever I am anxious.

3) How long was the ride to the Test Center from your home?
~20 mins or so. It is about the same distance as I drive to work

4) Were there any distractions at the facility or during the Test?
No. I actually was placed in a corner cube which gave me relief because I thought this would eliminate any potential distractions.

5) What did you do during the two 8-minute breaks?
Went to the restroom, walked around, got some water, then returned

6) Did you finish any sections early?
No

7) Did you have to rush to finish any sections (and guess on questions just to finish on time)?
I guessed on the last 2 in verbal and had enough time to make an educated guess on the last quant problem (about a 1minute to read, digest, eliminate obvious and guess)

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Re: Help... Need new strategy for verbal [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2017, 09:28
Hi jra558,

A poor night's sleep could certainly have impacted your performance. The two 8-minute breaks are actually great opportunities to 'recharge' before the next section of the GMAT, but it doesn't sound like you took full advantage of those breaks.

Beyond that, Test Day is a rather specific 'event' - the details are specific and they matter, so you have to train as best as you can for all of them. The more realistic you can make your CAT-taking process, the better your chances of maximizing your performance on Test Day. By taking your CATs at home, and sometimes in an inconsistent fashion, you were likely letting little things 'slip' by. A Q47 is a strong performance, but at that level you would have missed out on a bunch of 'strategy-based' points. In that same way, the V33 and V34 are solid Verbal performances, but you would have lost significant points in at least 1 of the 3 major Verbal categories (SC, RC and CR). You're actually closer to a 700+ than you realize, but the similarity in your two Official Scores implies that you've likely developed some 'bad habits' that you'll have to fix before you'll hit that score level.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Help... Need new strategy for verbal [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2017, 12:24
Thanks Rich. So what would you suggest for me? I think what frustrates me the most is that I know I can perform better, but I just haven't been able to do so.

I have already scheduled to retake. I want to beat this test!

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EMPOWERgmat Instructor
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Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
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Kudos [?]: 3517 [0], given: 173

Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: Help... Need new strategy for verbal [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2017, 14:26
Hi jra558,

You seem interested in a new approach for just the Verbal section, but you have the potential to pick up points in BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections, so you might want to consider that as you continue to study (and my advice will differ a bit based on whether you want to just focus on Verbal or not).

1) What is your goal score?
2) When are you planning to retake the GMAT?
3) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
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www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

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Re: Help... Need new strategy for verbal [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2017, 14:39
I'm currently scheduled to retake on 9/16.. I could move that if necessary. Yes, I'd like to primarily focus on Verbal. I feel confident in Quant and know that silly mistakes/timing are probably making me leave points on the board, but I think I can handle those myself.

I just looked at my ESR: V34 was made up of CR41, SC37, and RC28....

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EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
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Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
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Kudos [?]: 3517 [0], given: 173

Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Re: Help... Need new strategy for verbal [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2017, 15:16
Hi jra558,

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 (and what you should work on). If you post your Full ESR here (or PM it to me) then I'll be happy to analyze it for you. You didn't answer all of my prior questions. I'll still need to know your goal score and the number of hours that you think you can study each week.

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

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

Kudos [?]: 3517 [0], given: 173

Re: Help... Need new strategy for verbal   [#permalink] 30 Aug 2017, 15:16
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