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Massive dip in actual Gmat Score vis-a-vis Gmat Prep Practice Tests

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Massive dip in actual Gmat Score vis-a-vis Gmat Prep Practice Tests [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2017, 01:29
So I had what one can call a horrendous shocking experience. I had been getting score in the range of 700-740 in the last four practice tests I took over 2 weeks before my actual Gmat. Quant ranged between 49-50 and Verbal ranged between 37-41. In my actual Gmat, I felt I blanked out in Verbal... got a score of 28 in verbal, 49 in quant... leading to a 640.
Appreciate if you guys can help me with your analysis of what went wrong.

Some key facts:

1. My last 4 Gmat Prep scores: 740, 710, 720, 730 (2 days prior to the actual test)

2. Had been practicing on Verbal-Quant-IR-AWA sequence, took the same in actual test

3. During verbal in the actual test, I started off fine I feel... at 45mins remaining, I thought I was ahead of time. Soon, I saw myself struggling with time and due to immense time pressure, experienced myself random guessing / answering. I don't know what happened to me... I had just blanked out. During practice tests, while initially struggling with time, in last one month, had learnt to manage time well. But I don't know what happened in the actual test!

4. When I analysed, i figured it could be sheer overconfidence, lack of warm up practice before the test or just slack! (I'd like to believe it's not competence issue :-O)

5. On the test day, I had proper sleep, ate well etc. While I went through notes and select practice material, missed doing any warm up questions.

6. I had not referred to many study materials... just studied OG and OG Verbal review. But I was confident of my prep and was getting good scores and accuracy.

Anyone's had any similar experience? Or anyone who can probably analyse my situation and give in your inputs.

I am planning to retake the test in another 20 days... your inputs and tips will be much appreciated!

Regards,
Payal

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Hi Payal,

To start, while I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as planned, a 640/Q49 is still 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, 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 at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
4) 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.)?
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE?
6) How many of these CATs did you take in the last week before Test Day?

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Re: Massive dip in actual Gmat Score vis-a-vis Gmat Prep Practice Tests [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2017, 15:33
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hi payalsinha1007

Hope you find this post useful.

WR,
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Re: Massive dip in actual Gmat Score vis-a-vis Gmat Prep Practice Tests [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2017, 02:43
Hi Rich,

Thanks for your valuable reply. The reason I am unable to assess the cause myself is because all conditions were normal. To answer your specific questions:

When you took your CATs:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)? - Took entire CAT each time - Sequence being Verbal-Quant-IR-AWA... A couple of times I did not take the AWA section at the end since the AWA question was the same as earlier, but I guess that should not matter my score as it is the last section. If anything, it should affect my actual AWA score.
2) Did you take them at home? - took the tests in a library under exam conditions, mimicking the breaks (in fact took 6-7 mins break rather than 8 mins), eatables etc exactly as in final test
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT? - Yes
4) 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.)? - the only thing missing was solving any warm up questions. Did go through (quickly) notes and practice test questions-answers on the test day though.
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE? - All these practice tests were taken first time from the exam pack 1 & 2. - Almost no question seen again... maximum 1 question per test in Test 2 could be one seen in Test 1... but not more than 1 question overlap.
6) How many of these CATs did you take in the last week before Test Day? - I took 2 CATs in the week before, 1 CAT about 6 days prior and 1 cat 2 days prior to final Gmat.

Where do you think lies the problem? I need to understand the problem so that I can correct it for my retake. I did not want the momentum to go down, hence have scheduled a retake in about 15-20 days.

Inputs appreciated.

Regards
Payal

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Re: Massive dip in actual Gmat Score vis-a-vis Gmat Prep Practice Tests [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2017, 02:46
Thanks Adkikani for the useful link.

Seems the only thing possible is "Being Anxious". But in my case, I am unsure whether it was Anxiety or Anxiety lurking in Overconfidence. I was feeling quite confident before the test, in fact was ahead of time at 45mins in Verbal section. Then something went wrong, I was so relaxed that I misread the time... panicked and then everything bombed. Though I collected myself well for Quant, IR and AWA and did reasonably well there.

Your views?

Regards
Payal

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New post 23 Aug 2017, 11:39
Hi Payal,

From your prior post, there are two factors that could have impacted your performance. Not doing any 'warm up' might have thrown off your routine a little bit - but that by itself is not enough to explain a 10 point drop in the Verbal section. Taking a CAT 2 days before your Official GMAT likely caused far more harm than good. It takes a lot of effort and energy to complete (and properly review) a CAT - and it takes time to 'recover' from. As a general rule, you shouldn't take more than 1 CAT per week. Since you took two in the last 6 days before your Exam - and that one so close to Test Day - it's possible that you experienced some 'burn out' (which might explain the "blanking out" feeling you had in the Verbal section).

Beyond those points, 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)?

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New post 23 Aug 2017, 12:51
Hi Rich,

I read about taking a CAT 2 days prior to Gmat here in the forum itself, hence followed that. My last CAT was pretty good getting 730 (49Q, 40V) and since there were very few incorrect and I was confident on most answers, I completed reviewing it the same night. So I had the entire next day and the test day after that ( my test was at 5pm). So not sure if that could have lead to burn out, since I literally did nothing on the last day and the test day (just couple of hours of revision). Answers to your specific questions:

1) What did you do in the 3 days before your GMAT?- Studied long hours 3 days prior, took CAT 2 days prior, watched movie and idled away 1 day prior (minimum revision), almost no study on day of test. Like I do everyday, exercised all the days mentioned above.

2) How did you sleep the night before your Test? - very well

3) How long was the ride to the Test Center from your home? The ride was an hour long, but I went by 1pm to my friend's house, rested for couple of hours, and walked up (5mins walk) up to the test center at 4.15pm) from there. Nothing abnormal or stressful happened in this course.

4) Were there any distractions at the facility or during the Test? - nothing till IR. During IR keyboard noise was disturbing.

5) What did you do during the two 8-minute breaks? - went to the bathroom, had water, had an apple (exactly what I did during Practice CATs)

6) Did you finish any sections early?- Quant, IR both finished just in time but comfortably

7) Did you have to rush to finish any sections (and guess on questions just to finish on time)? - Verbal! Totally! I felt eased out at the beginning, felt I was ahead of time like it happened in practice tests. I think I just got lax then... soon I realised I was lagging. Panic set in and I was just looking at the clock... not giving my 100% to the questions. I knew I was making guesses and wasn't sure on any of the answers since I panicked of fear of time running out. I didn't know how to handle that feeling at that time.

Look forward to your views.

Regards
Payal

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New post 23 Aug 2017, 21:16
Hi Payal,

With this last post, you've included some information that wasn't apparent in your initial post. As such, I have some additional questions:

1) What time did you wake up the morning of your Exam?
2) Were you allowed to start your GMAT when you arrived early at the Test Facility or were you forced to wait until 5pm?
3) Did you start all of your practice CATs at 5pm?
4) When you say that you 'rested' at your friend's place before the Exam, what does that mean exactly? Did you take a nap? Did you 'hang out' with your friend for a few hours?

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New post 24 Aug 2017, 13:19
Hi Rich,

Here's my response:


1) What time did you wake up the morning of your Exam? 9-9.30am

2) Were you allowed to start your GMAT when you arrived early at the Test Facility or were you forced to wait until 5pm? Not forced to wait, but was towards the end in the queue (almost everyone else had reached before I did, though I reached early too). So, in order of reaching, I had to wait the maximum and thus started by about 5pm.

3) Did you start all of your practice CATs at 5pm? - Yes

4) When you say that you 'rested' at your friend's place before the Exam, what does that mean exactly? Did you take a nap? Did you 'hang out' with your friend for a few hours
- I had lunch, went through notes and few test questions for half an hour, took a 15mins power nap, had tea and left for the center. My friend wasn't at home, I just went there to rest out before heading to the test center.

What does your analysis say?

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New post 24 Aug 2017, 19:44
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Hi Payal,

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

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New post 24 Aug 2017, 22:16
payalsinha1007 wrote:
Anyone's had any similar experience? Or anyone who can probably analyse my situation and give in your inputs.
I believe that most people underperform on the first attempt, and that it takes at least 2-3 attempts for a test taker to perform to his/her potential. Of course, you don't want to depend solely on this, and should continue to do as much as possible to get the score that you want. I'll just suggest that you work on your timing strategy in addition to whatever else you choose to do. You should track time carefully (every 10 questions or so) so that you don't end up with too little time towards the end.

All the best!
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New post 07 Sep 2017, 22:43
payalsinha1007 wrote:
So I had what one can call a horrendous shocking experience. I had been getting score in the range of 700-740 in the last four practice tests I took over 2 weeks before my actual Gmat. Quant ranged between 49-50 and Verbal ranged between 37-41. In my actual Gmat, I felt I blanked out in Verbal... got a score of 28 in verbal, 49 in quant... leading to a 640.
Appreciate if you guys can help me with your analysis of what went wrong.

Some key facts:

1. My last 4 Gmat Prep scores: 740, 710, 720, 730 (2 days prior to the actual test)

2. Had been practicing on Verbal-Quant-IR-AWA sequence, took the same in actual test

3. During verbal in the actual test, I started off fine I feel... at 45mins remaining, I thought I was ahead of time. Soon, I saw myself struggling with time and due to immense time pressure, experienced myself random guessing / answering. I don't know what happened to me... I had just blanked out. During practice tests, while initially struggling with time, in last one month, had learnt to manage time well. But I don't know what happened in the actual test!

4. When I analysed, i figured it could be sheer overconfidence, lack of warm up practice before the test or just slack! (I'd like to believe it's not competence issue :-O)

5. On the test day, I had proper sleep, ate well etc. While I went through notes and select practice material, missed doing any warm up questions.

6. I had not referred to many study materials... just studied OG and OG Verbal review. But I was confident of my prep and was getting good scores and accuracy.

Anyone's had any similar experience? Or anyone who can probably analyse my situation and give in your inputs.

I am planning to retake the test in another 20 days... your inputs and tips will be much appreciated!

Regards,
Payal


Payal, did you get your ESR? What does the Verbal section say?

I think you did most things right. I wouldn't take a practice test in the last few days but would just review; still, with almost 2 days to relax, you may not have caused much harm. Perhaps, you relaxed a bit too much during your Verbal. Most people find themselves under time pressure in both Quant and Verbal and hence, you ALWAYS have to be mindful of the clock. That doesn't mean that you have to keep checking it out. It just means that you have to keep a constant pressure on yourself to hurry. You cannot be lax. That is what we call "time management". Even if you feel that you do have plenty of time, you cannot let the pressure go. Of course, haste will make you err, but a quick and quiet efficiency is required during the entire time. Stick to your game plan for the entire 75 mins.
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New post 10 Sep 2017, 13:37
Hey Karishma,

Didn't request for an esr so did not really get to analyze the verbal section. However, you are right... just being vigilant during the whole section and not getting lax was the solution.

I took a retest today, with minimal study in the three weeks between the two tests. My score:

Total 700
Quant 50
Verbal 34

I feel verbal could have been better. Possibly accuracy could have suffered. Pacing was totally fine this time and I did not struggle with pressure to complete.

Thanks for your words of wisdom.

Regards
Payal

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New post 10 Sep 2017, 13:39
Hey Rich,

Thanks for your analysis and feedback. Really appreciate it.

I took a retest and scored a 700 (my target score). Your feedback helped!

Regards
Payal

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New post 11 Sep 2017, 00:38
payalsinha1007 wrote:
Hey Karishma,

Didn't request for an esr so did not really get to analyze the verbal section. However, you are right... just being vigilant during the whole section and not getting lax was the solution.

I took a retest today, with minimal study in the three weeks between the two tests. My score:

Total 700
Quant 50
Verbal 34

I feel verbal could have been better. Possibly accuracy could have suffered. Pacing was totally fine this time and I did not struggle with pressure to complete.

Thanks for your words of wisdom.

Regards
Payal

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Wonderful to know Payal! Best wishes for the application process.
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Re: Massive dip in actual Gmat Score vis-a-vis Gmat Prep Practice Tests   [#permalink] 11 Sep 2017, 00:38
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