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# 2 weeks left!! Debrief thus far, need advice, Q42V29/31

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Intern
Joined: 21 Mar 2011
Posts: 14

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15 Apr 2012, 19:52
Hello Everyone,

UPDATED DEBRIEF in 3rd Post, please comment, thanks

I am less than a month away from my exam date (scheduled for May 1st) and am getting anxious!!! This is my second time around and I've been prepping rigoriously for the last month and a half. I hit quant hard and revisited the MGMAT guide books. In the last week and a half I took 2 MGMAT CAT Exam. My score for the first exam was 630(Q44;V32) and just finished a second exam today 580(Q42;V29) (for the first CAT exam, I took the quant and verbal in separate sittings; the second exam I took a full length test including AWA). I am happy that my quant has improved substantial since the first exam but it is apparent that I still need to work on Verbal. On average my verbal has been around 31/32 (when preparing the first time) but I don't feel like its due to a lack of understanding the material more so than it is stamina/timing. I went through the MGMAT SC guide, Powerscore Guide again and selected my RC method of choice. On my first attempt, my SC and RC was strong and my CR weak. Now, my SC is weak and my CR and RC strong. But, I feel like my performance in verbal on the CAT exams doesn't reflect my performance during my practice sessions. My accuracy when doing problem sets is around 70%. The past week and a half I've been doing Quant problems from the GMAT Club forum a/b 1.5 hrs and then switch to verbal. I originally wanted to do sets of 41 questions after the quant problems, but have found it difficult to find problem sets readily available on the forum (for ex the gmat questions of the day are single questions). So I've been doing single questions, reviewing the answer and then moving to the next question. There was 1 practice session where I did 10 questions from the CR doc posted by Whiplash, then 14 questions from the Brutal SC doc, and then 3 RC passages from RC99 and reviewed at the end. (I have about 2-3 hrs on week nights to study since I work full time). I dont know if this is the best way to continue.

I didn't get to review my CAT Exam yet from today (I will provide an update tomorrow when I review in depth), but am feeling frustrated with verbal. I really feel like the time pressure and stamina is a huge down fall for me rather than a lack of knowing the content. I've been telling myself to focus on the question rather than the time and try to stop attempting to gauge the difficultly level of the question. I looked at the first CAT exam and I was getting 600-700/700-800 questions but I think the score of 32 had to do with that I got 6 of the last 10 questions wrong. I really need guidance regarding what I should do to help bring my verbal score up. My overall goal is to get a 650-680. I think I can get my Quant score to be pretty stable by continuing to practice with forum questions in practice sets but really need advice regarding verbal. I've gone through all of the OG 12 problems, but maybe it is a matter of me doing practice sets of 41 questions from the supplemental verbal OG guide. I definitely do not want a repeat disappointment with my second attempt. I know that I am fully capable of performing well. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Last edited by ebethke on 17 Apr 2012, 07:20, edited 3 times in total.
Current Student
Joined: 30 Mar 2012
Posts: 141
Location: United States (TX)
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 670 Q45 V38
GPA: 2.64
WE: Supply Chain Management (Consumer Electronics)

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16 Apr 2012, 00:40
ebethke wrote:
On average my verbal has been around 31/32 (when preparing the first time) but I don't feel like its due to a lack of understanding the material more so than it is stamina/timing. I went through the MGMAT SC guide, Powerscore Guide again and selected my RC method of choice. On my first attempt, my SC and RC was strong and my CR weak. Now, my SC is weak and my CR and RC strong. But, I feel like my performance in verbal on the CAT exams doesn't reflect my performance during my practice sessions.

The GMAT doesn't simply test your knowledge and ability to learn. The exam and the admissions process rigorously measures our ability to prepare, adapt under pressure, and perform. With that being said, it is not surprising of the possibility of one performing better on the practice sets than the CAT. They're two different principles. Now, the fact that you've given us enough information to conclude that you know the material is very helpful (I'm taking your word on this).

In regards to improving on the Verbal, I would suggest that you create the same test-day environment at home even when you're doing practice sets. Again, it's not just your knowledge being tested; who are you when the lights are on your face and how will you fair against pressure and odds? Based on the information given in this thread, I would spend the rest of my time taking a couple more CAT exams and using the data given afterward to go back and brush that piece up (under the same timed conditions). If endurance is a factor, then mimic your study sessions so that you have to work 75 minutes at a time with 8 minutes of break in between. Set your room temperature to what you'll be writing the exam in. Replicate as many of those factors. You're doing well. Take a moment to reflect and think about what you're missing; adapt your game plan and move forward. Good luck and keep us updated.
_________________

Don't let a low GPA destroy your dreams of a business education.

Intern
Joined: 16 Apr 2012
Posts: 12
Location: United States
Concentration: Marketing, Organizational Behavior
GPA: 3.79

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16 Apr 2012, 14:13
You definitely need to do the whole test when practicing, since it's what youre preparing for. Do at least one more test before may 1st and make sure you do the AWAs and both quant and verbal together. While you're doing so, keep an eye on the time and do not spend more than 3 minutes per question. Timing is a very large reason people do poorly, since they spend too much time on problems they struggle with, which leaves them with no time to do questions they can do.

If you can, get the OG 12 and practice medium + difficulty Verbal questions and use a timer to check that you aren't spending too much time on one question and to build that all-important habit that will help you on test day.
Work on how you respond to questions (e.g. paying attention to important details in CRs, identifying verb-subject agreement and modifier phrase locations, and skimming passages in RC) which will provide you with a better sense of tackling questions in moving forward.

To improve your stamina, you really need to have a collection of questions - I would bite the bullet and pay for something. Do 41 verbal questions a day and 37 quant questions a day.

Lastly, DO NOT OVERWORK YOURSELF THE LAST FEW DAYS. I worked myself to the point of getting sick 3 days before my test and then couldn't sleep the night before. I ended up getting 2 hours of sleep, which really hurt me taking the test. Relax the last day or two before your exam and work out, eat right, and destress. At that point, extra work becomes harmful.

Best of luck mate
Intern
Joined: 21 Mar 2011
Posts: 14

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17 Apr 2012, 06:53
Thanks for the tips. I have the OG 12 and both Quant and Verbal smaller supplemental additions w/ additional practice sets. I was able to review my test in depth last night. Below is an in depth debrief. Please please provide advice on the verbal portion below as I found some additional insights. Thanks for all of your help!

Quant:
I am pretty good with quickly identifying questions that I don't know and need to guess on and move on. I finished the exam with 16 minutes left and scored a 42. This is pretty good news because after reviewing the exam in depth I found that I was making two types of mistakes- about 7 were simple mistakes that can be corrected I think by better allocating my time to quickly recheck. The other 8 were on 600-700/700-800 level questions and were a lack of missing the final computation step to get to the right answer. Please let me know if you have a better suggestion on how not to make stupid mistakes or how to better allocate my time. Regarding the second type of mistakes I was making, I think this can be corrected by continuing to work difficult problem sets.

Verbal:
Timing is still an issue and I think I identified a root cause but still need advice. In reviewing my test in depth, it is clear that unlike Quant where I am able to quickly identify the problems that I should just guess to save time, I am not able to do this quickly with Verbal. For instance, my accuracy for CR 500-600 level questions is 1:45 and 75% correct, but when it comes to the 600-700/700-800 level questions, I am spending sometimes around 2:00-3.00 minutes on them and am only getting 50% correct. The average time spending on wrong questions in this quesetion range is1:50-2:00! If I can quickly identify when to just guess and move on, I can save significant time on these harder questions. My accuracy is also less mainly for the minor question types- Is this something worth focusing on?

Regarding the SC questions, I think I need to revisit verbs/parallelism/comparisons. I also found that I am narrowing the answer choices down to two and picking the wrong one and usually the correct answer at the higher levels depends on minor things like idioms/comparisons etc. I am not that great with idioms but feel like spending time on trying to memorize them is not an effective use of my time. Do you have any suggestions?

Regarding RC, I think I can still improve my speed. Overall, performace for this area is not that bad, but I am terrible with specific detail question types. I think I need to not focus on the actual details but why that detail was placed in the passage to get these right. Is that correct?

For these last two weeks, I wanted to take at least 2-3 more full lenght practice exams, structure my sessions similar to the test doing sets of 37 and 41, and memorize any quant key concepts/formulas & SC rules. Is it time now to cut my losses and practice on questions where my strength lie? Please advise.

Thanks again!!
Manager
Joined: 06 Jul 2011
Posts: 213
Location: Accra, Ghana

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17 Apr 2012, 12:41
ebethke wrote:
Thanks for the tips. I have the OG 12 and both Quant and Verbal smaller supplemental additions w/ additional practice sets. I was able to review my test in depth last night. Below is an in depth debrief. Please please provide advice on the verbal portion below as I found some additional insights. Thanks for all of your help!

Quant:
I am pretty good with quickly identifying questions that I don't know and need to guess on and move on. I finished the exam with 16 minutes left and scored a 42. This is pretty good news because after reviewing the exam in depth I found that I was making two types of mistakes- about 7 were simple mistakes that can be corrected I think by better allocating my time to quickly recheck. The other 8 were on 600-700/700-800 level questions and were a lack of missing the final computation step to get to the right answer. Please let me know if you have a better suggestion on how not to make stupid mistakes or how to better allocate my time. Regarding the second type of mistakes I was making, I think this can be corrected by continuing to work difficult problem sets.

Verbal:
Timing is still an issue and I think I identified a root cause but still need advice. In reviewing my test in depth, it is clear that unlike Quant where I am able to quickly identify the problems that I should just guess to save time, I am not able to do this quickly with Verbal. For instance, my accuracy for CR 500-600 level questions is 1:45 and 75% correct, but when it comes to the 600-700/700-800 level questions, I am spending sometimes around 2:00-3.00 minutes on them and am only getting 50% correct. The average time spending on wrong questions in this quesetion range is1:50-2:00! If I can quickly identify when to just guess and move on, I can save significant time on these harder questions. My accuracy is also less mainly for the minor question types- Is this something worth focusing on?

Regarding the SC questions, I think I need to revisit verbs/parallelism/comparisons. I also found that I am narrowing the answer choices down to two and picking the wrong one and usually the correct answer at the higher levels depends on minor things like idioms/comparisons etc. I am not that great with idioms but feel like spending time on trying to memorize them is not an effective use of my time. Do you have any suggestions?

Regarding RC, I think I can still improve my speed. Overall, performace for this area is not that bad, but I am terrible with specific detail question types. I think I need to not focus on the actual details but why that detail was placed in the passage to get these right. Is that correct?

For these last two weeks, I wanted to take at least 2-3 more full lenght practice exams, structure my sessions similar to the test doing sets of 37 and 41, and memorize any quant key concepts/formulas & SC rules. Is it time now to cut my losses and practice on questions where my strength lie? Please advise.

Thanks again!!

Good luck studying for the final push. I really hope that you score very well on the exam, although it is
a very challenging stage to be at the moment.
Re: 2 weeks left!! Debrief thus far, need advice, Q42V29/31   [#permalink] 17 Apr 2012, 12:41
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# 2 weeks left!! Debrief thus far, need advice, Q42V29/31

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