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High 600s on CATs, 560 on May 5th GMAT! Retaking in June

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High 600s on CATs, 560 on May 5th GMAT! Retaking in June [#permalink]

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07 May 2012, 15:13
I've read a lot of stories like this recently so I thought I'd share my experience as well and get some advice.

I bought these Manhattan books over a year ago and studied from March 2011 - July 2011. This was haphazard studying as I was working long hours and not really set on a GMAT date. I changed jobs in July and stopped studying until about two months ago (late March 2012). At that time I set a date for May 5th and studied very hard for 2 hours a day until my test. Went over 65% of the MGMAT books and referred to them when analyzing what I was doing wrong in OG problem sets. My results from the CATs (each line item is exactly a week apart)

1. Baseline that I took without timing myself and under no testing conditions - 600
2. Total test was timed and I never learned pacing rules so I guessed, A LOT - 540
3. Each problem in quant was timed so it would kick me out after 2 minutes - 540
4. Learned some timing and took the test under test conditions - 670 !!!
5. Learned some more timing and again took test under testing conditions - 690!!!
6. Saturday, May 5th, 12pm GMAT - 560 ..... wow

I was doing the quant section and totally lost it when the first few questions seemed hard to me. I was checking the clock constantly and just got really discouraged because the problems were combo and geometry problems where I didn't spend a lot of time learning the fundamentals. These two were very under-represented in the OG12 and in the Manhattan CATs that I relied on.

I took my 8 minute break and collected myself to start the verbal. I was rocking that section, I was feelin real good and thought to myself.. wow, this verbal section might actually save my score! Click, click, click and I got to the score page and:

Quant: 41
Verbal: 26

26? I was feeling great about the section and I got a 26? Wow, way to throw cut open a wound that was slowly starting to heal.

I spent Saturday drinking and spent Sunday reading about everything I could on this forum and others trying to motivate myself again. I haven't set a date for the retake but I will and it will be June 16th. I'm ready to start studying again TODAY but I just need the right game plan this time.

My goal is 700+ and it's not unrealistic because I KNOW I'm not a 560 scorer. I've read the threads here that talk about doing a retake but that advice I've found is for people who need help deciding whether they should retake or not and also mentions resources such as Kaplan if you do decide to retake. I know I'm going to retake and I'd rather not use Kaplan resources.

What do you guys recommend I do in 2 weeks? Obviously I need to work on some fundamentals because I think having that would have calmed my nerves in some of the tougher problems. I plan on reviewing some of my weaker items from the MGMAT guides and also doing just a handful of problems a day so I can really carefully look at what I'm doing wrong. I need help trying to decide on the right approach on problems. Every time I see a problem, I think of one good way to do the problem and just attack it no matter how long I think it takes. Once my "one minute sense" kicks in, then I'm like, damn, I"m not going to finish, so I start working towards an educated guess and move on. I need to be able to think about a problem before I get started.

Just need some input and thoughts from experts here. Any ideas on what I can do?
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High 600s on CATs, 560 on May 5th GMAT! Retaking in June   [#permalink] 07 May 2012, 15:13
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