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hooooorible exam attempt

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New post 12 Jul 2019, 07:31
Hello everyone. I gave my first attempt of the GMAT today and scored a really pathetic score of 540. :cry:

I started studying for the exam about two months ago, got a 560 on my first practice CAT, and a 590 on my second one a month later (very disappointing considering I had gone through the entire Kaplan book chapter by chapter and did all the practice questions - but the problem was that I was not timing myself). At this point I realized I was far from ready, but because one of the universities I am applying to (IMD) has a deadline of August 1st, I decided to schedule the exam for July 12th, (latest possible to still make the application in time if the result takes 20 days to get to the university). I figured, as long as I got an average score, It would be atleast be something to attach to my application and then I could retake a month later.. At this point, I am not sure what i should do.

If I am going to re-attempt the test (obviously), should I cancel my score now within 72 hours and then just submit a new score when I take it or should I let it be, go to the university and just submit a new score once i've done it again?

I know i am not ready but I also hadn't given any formal standardized test in over 5 years, did not sleep all night (im guessing because of anxiety) and came down with a cold two days before the exam and felt just awful throughout the experience, so it is what it is. Any advice would be helpful. I am going for 700+ but i clearly need to approach studying for it differently.
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New post Updated on: 12 Jul 2019, 09:16
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bhs90 wrote:
Hello everyone. I gave my first attempt of the GMAT today and scored a really pathetic score of 540. :cry:

I started studying for the exam about two months ago, got a 560 on my first practice CAT, and a 590 on my second one a month later (very disappointing considering I had gone through the entire Kaplan book chapter by chapter and did all the practice questions - but the problem was that I was not timing myself). At this point I realized I was far from ready, but because one of the universities I am applying to (IMD) has a deadline of August 1st, I decided to schedule the exam for July 12th, (latest possible to still make the application in time if the result takes 20 days to get to the university). I figured, as long as I got an average score, It would be atleast be something to attach to my application and then I could retake a month later.. At this point, I am not sure what i should do.

If I am going to re-attempt the test (obviously), should I cancel my score now within 72 hours and then just submit a new score when I take it or should I let it be, go to the university and just submit a new score once I've done it again?

I know i am not ready but I also hadn't given any formal standardized test in over 5 years, did not sleep all night (im guessing because of anxiety) and came down with a cold two days before the exam and felt just awful throughout the experience, so it is what it is. Any advice would be helpful. I am going for 700+ but i clearly need to approach studying for it differently.


I'll say two things to you for now,
1. Chill, you weren't ready anyways, you were just rushing into the test without a proper goal.
2. Cancel that score, it is taking you no where

Do you know Empower GMAT Offers you Test pack 1 & 2? A different course from the one you just took will help you in changing your approach. Visit their website, avail discount from GMAT club and give yourself some time. You are at 590, that is somewhere most 700 scorers start. I Firmly believe you should apply in round 2, if you're looking forward to a 700+. Also, use all the official material, including the question pack. You should refer to easy questions first, ofiicial guide has a web access, use that and you're golden, you'll pace yourself too. Learn the new techniques the empower gmat teaches you, and keep going. Veritas course is good too but they don't provide you access to anything official from mba.com

If you still want to take another attempt rushing before august 1st, Complete OG, verbal review, quant review and give test 3 then finish question pack and give test 4, if you think that is good enough, book the date and give the test. Make sure your test score is atleast 20 point above your target score.

If you think I was helpful, a gratitude is much appreciated in the form of like bhs90

Originally posted by Businessconquerer on 12 Jul 2019, 07:55.
Last edited by Businessconquerer on 12 Jul 2019, 09:16, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 12 Jul 2019, 09:09
hello, kaplan is a good guide indeed but it is not enough on its own, you should study real gmat questions they have 3 official guides : verbal,quant and a big mixed guide. they also give 2 free tests on mba.com with real gmat questions. you can also buy 4 more gmat tests from them if you think you need them. i would also like to recommend gmat club test bank, they have harder than usual questions that will make you scratch your brain.

540 is not a good score but not bad for a start ! chill, practice more real gmat questions because practice makes perfect.
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New post 12 Jul 2019, 09:32
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Hi bhs90,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First off, as has been mentioned, you need to first cancel your GMAT score and then begin following a new study plan as well as a realistic timeline. Since you scored 540 (160+ points off your score goal) it’s clear that you are lacking the GMAT quant and verbal fundamentals you need for a high score right? Thus, moving forward, you need to follow a linear and structured study plan that allows you to individually learn each GMAT quant and verbal topic and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. Let me expand on this idea further.

If you are learning about Number Properties, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. 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. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills.
Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see, types that you would rather not see, and types that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

Follow a similar routine for verbal. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken The Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each question type, do focused practice, so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and instead focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and thereby comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage. Furthermore, as you practice Reading Comprehension, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect Reading Comprehension answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. Keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to analyze such passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as The Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction is a bit of a different animal compared to Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. There are three aspects to getting correct answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions: what you know, such as grammar rules, what you see, such as violations of grammar rules and the logic of sentence structure, and what you do, such as carefully considering each answer choice in the context of the non-underlined portion of the sentence. To drive up your Sentence Correction score, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not really a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning the grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending less than two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see in order to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and none of those reasons are that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answers were always the ones that sounded right, then most people most of the time would get Sentence Correction questions correct, without really knowing why the wrong answers were wrong and the correct answers were correct. So, you have to go beyond choosing what "sounds right" and learn to clearly see the logical reasons why one choice is better than all of the others.

As for the third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct, what you do, the main thing you have to do is be very careful. You have to make sure that you are truly considering the structures of sentences and the meanings conveyed rather than allowing yourself to be tricked into choosing trap answers that sound right but don't convey logical meanings. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice until you start to see the differences that make all choices wrong except for one. Often, when you first look at the choices, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to take the time to see the differences between answers and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off, and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did to arrive at that answer and what you could do differently to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could do differently to extend your streak.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regimens, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your skills improve, you w(ill want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

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 it helpful to read the following article about The Phases of Preparing for the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions. Good luck!
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New post 12 Jul 2019, 09:34
bhs90 - Welcome to GMAT Club!!

First, do you know what most GMAT 700 scores have in common? They all are extremely involved in this forum. Too bad you chose to make your first forum post outlining your not-so-impressive test performance. Instead, you should have scouted the various sections of this forum to solve questions, provide solutions, clear doubts, pose questions, among other. Doing all those things would have sure gotten you a better score.

That said, I would advice you to order the ESR report immediately to under where you went wrong. More importantly, several test takers commit a mistake of viewing the GMAT score as a three digit number; well, it's not. You have to analyse your sectional and sub-sectional performances. Are you strong in SC, CR, or RC? What is your accuracy rate in each of these sub-sections? Do you find quant or verbal easier? Trust me viewing the GMAT as a three digit number and then putting in several hours of unstructured study hours will do you no good. Instead, it may actually harm your performance.

Please do not feel disappointed. I am sure with the right preparation and strategy, you can definitely improve your score. All the best!
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New post 12 Jul 2019, 09:49
DisciplinedPrep wrote:
bhs90 - Welcome to GMAT Club!!

First, do you know what most GMAT 700 scores have in common? They all are extremely involved in this forum. Too bad you chose to make your first forum post outlining your not-so-impressive test performance. Instead, you should have scouted the various sections of this forum to solve questions, provide solutions, clear doubts, pose questions, among other. Doing all those things would have sure gotten you a better score.

That said, I would advice you to order the ESR report immediately to under where you went wrong. More importantly, several test takers commit a mistake of viewing the GMAT score as a three digit number; well, it's not. You have to analyse your sectional and sub-sectional performances. Are you strong in SC, CR, or RC? What is your accuracy rate in each of these sub-sections? Do you find quant or verbal easier? Trust me viewing the GMAT as a three digit number and then putting in several hours of unstructured study hours will do you no good. Instead, it may actually harm your performance.

Please do not feel disappointed. I am sure with the right preparation and strategy, you can definitely improve your score. All the best!


Hey man, it is great to see you help a fellow member, do you really think an ESR would truly help? Seems like he just gave the test nearly unprepared. I mean Kaplan is fine, but he didn't do much original stuff. I do think he can benefit from a more focused approach on official material and from GMAT Club.
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New post 15 Jul 2019, 08:37
Sorry all, i've tried to respond individually to the replies here several times but I haven't posted before so I don't really know how to go about it. I will just reply with mentions because the site wont let me reply by quoting each user.

DisciplinedPrep, I have been on gmatclub since two months now, and the only reason I haven't actively participated is because I can always find instances where people other than me have asked similar questions, so I just look for the answers provided to them to help myself. This case was a bit unique, so I decided to actually reach out for help! But yes, i agree with you in that this website is a GREAT tool. Also, I created an error log, but do you have suggestions as to which one is the best for someone starting out? I did so many practice questions but I feel like my error log takes five times as much time as actually doing questions. Maybe I'm using a more tedious version (a word document, where i list out the topic, my answer, the right answer, what i should do next time). I downloaded my ESR. Not sure how to apply the information because in practice tests my weak areas were different in verbal than they were on the exam, so i think a safe approach is to just consider all of them weak areas?

GeorgeKo111 I did not only Kaplan, but two of the practice tests which come free on the official gmat website and completed about 150 questions (total) from OG mixed guide and quant, and some practice questions from gmatclub. In my practice tests, I was getting the highest # of incorrect answers in SC, then CR and finally RC but in the exam, according to my ESR, I did the worst in RC.

Businessconquerer I did a decent amount of studying in the past month and a half (5 hours a day) (kaplan, og mixed and quant, and practice tests 1 and 2) but i think i just didn't work smart at all..

Thanks all for your encouragement and help everybody!! :)
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New post 15 Jul 2019, 08:47
DisciplinedPrep I got a 34 on verbal (71st percentile) and 31 on quant (18th percentile). I am still trying to figure out the rest of the details on my ESR.
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New post 15 Jul 2019, 15:49
Hi bhs90,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not go as well as hoped. From what you described, you were clearly not at your best (being sick and sleep-deprived would likely have hurt most Test Takers). That having been said, based on your practice CAT Scores, you still have some serious work to do before you can consistently hit your Score Goal. Assuming that your current ability level is in the high-500s, raising that type of Score to the point that you can consistently score 700+ will likely require at least another 2-3 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

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:

Studies:
1) What were your Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH of your practice CATs?
2) What are the application deadlines for each of the Schools that you plan to apply to?
3) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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). Since you have purchased the ESR, I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

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New post 16 Jul 2019, 05:18
Hi EMPOWERgmatRichC

Thanks for your helpful response.

1) On CAT #1, I had a 4 on IR (40 percentile), a 32 on quant (22 percentile) and a 34 on verbal (71 percentile) - for a total of 560. I did this practise test on May 11th, before I started studying. Then, after completing the Kaplan guide, I did CAT #2 and got a 4 on IR (40 percentile), a 39 on quant (37 percentile) and a 34 on verbal (71 percentile) 0 for a total of 590. I was pretty disappointed but figured my strategy was very weak. So I did some googling and found that I should've been using an error log. Based off of the topics that I got wrong in the second CAT, i started doing practice questions from those topics from the OG mixed guide and quant online test bank. At this point there were 2-3 weeks left in my exam. In total, since may, I have put in a total of 140 hours of studying (I have a daily tracker so thats accurate). Thats why I know I really messed up somewhere that all that got me a 540.

2) The application deadlines for the schools i am looking to apply to are as follows:
- IMD: August 1st (3rd round) and October 1st (4th and final round) for admission in January 2020 - there are no august admissions (this is why i was rushing to give my GMAT so I could submit before August deadline as October will be most selective)
- Babson College: October 22, January 4, March 1
- NYU/Stern: October 15, November 15, January 15, March 15
- Columbia: October 4 (Early decision and January 2020 admission), January 3, April 10
- MIT/Sloan: September 25, January 22, April 8
- Wharton: September 17, January 7
- Stanford: September 12, January 9, April 8

3) I can devote 5 hours a day to properly studying, and do activities/exercises that would supplement or support a better score in the other hours i am awake. I am not working currently, but that wont last for very long, that is why I want to go for one of the earlier deadlines.
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New post 16 Jul 2019, 05:55
EMPOWERgmatRichC - was finally able to attach my ESR! As you can see, it's been a bit difficult to pinpoint what exactly is wrong - probably because of the lack of sleep on test day.
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New post 16 Jul 2019, 10:52
Hi,

Sorry about your score. It happened to a lot of people especially when you are not prepared. Now you need to refocus, start again from the beginning. You may need to combine knowledge from various sources but you sure need to start with one. In my opinion, I don't think using one material helps that much. So you really need to take the sections and chapters one after the other and build understanding before thinking of writing the test again. All the best.

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New post 16 Jul 2019, 11:54
Hi bhs90,

I've sent you a PM with an analysis of your ESR and some additional notes.

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Re: hooooorible exam attempt   [#permalink] 16 Jul 2019, 11:54
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