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My GMAT horror story

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My GMAT horror story [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2017, 12:14
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Hi everyone I am an italian guy 22 years old at my last Bachelor year of Management Engineering in one of the best engineering university of Italy.
I won't go too far in the introductions and premise cause it's not necessary.

I would like to start a Master in Management (junior MBA) next September at Essec Business School, actually I am also applying to IE business school and I am considering ESCP, because the last 2 univerities mentioned don't require a Gmat score. So in case my Gmat exams would not go as I wanted I would have a parachute. I miss two exams to finish my Bachelor that I have to take between next January and early February. So I thought December was the ideal year to prepare my applications and I booked 2 dates for the Gmat: 4 December and 22 December, I would have preferred to take the first one earlier but no date was available. I took a private course for 2 months in September and October for my preparation. So I concentrated almost all the time for 3 months studying Gmat.

I took my first GmatPrep on the 4 November and I scored 640 which I thought was a pretty good score to start from. I got 46 Q and 33 V, but I thought that I could do better in my Quant, however I was struggling in my Verbal. So I continued to do exercises focusing more on the Verbal section but doing some Manhattan CAT I got 31 and 33 in Verbal so I wasn't improving as I wanted.

I took another GmatPrep 2 weeks later but the score was inflated cause I had already seen many Verbal and Quant questions and I got 700 (Q49 and V35). I was pretty happy but I knew that it was more than what I really could do.

However I tried my first attempt hoping for a first score around 650 to aspire for something higher for the 22 December exam.
I started from Q because I always did CAT in that order and I was confident in that way.
Quant went pretty well I thought to be around 46-47 score, but I really struggled in the Verbal part: my attention level declined it was about 2 p.m. already and I didn't eat so much in the morning, I don't know why but I really found the Verbal questions more difficult than the other I used for my preparation and I almost made exercise on official Gmat questions. I know that I wasn't doing well in the Verbal cause many questions at some point seemed too easy.

When I saw the result I was pretty shocked and angry 570 (Q45 V24) I made a mess in the verbal section, I felt I wasn't going more than 30 in the Verbal but I was expecting more a V28 or V29. I canceled the score I just couldn't see it, my last hope was the 22 December exam.

The following days I was wondering I could have sucked so much in Verbal and I did not understand, even because I didn't panick or I didn't feel too anxious, maybe more tired in the second part (Verbal section). So, while I accounted my Q45 score to have done some silly mistakes I was pretty confident to be in the range between 45-47 for Quant, I could not say I was confident about Verbal.

I did not have many days (18) to improve my Verbal, but I really gave everything I could: Verbal started became my obsession, for some days I did not touch the Quant exercises to focusing just on Verbal. I will explain about Verbal taking into consideration the singular parts:

Sentence Correction:
This was, like for many, my favourite part I was pretty good in SC not scoring too high but it was not the part to improve the most, however while I was able to eliminate quickly the answers in the OG or in my practice tests, at the real Gmat I didn't see many differences among the answers, they differed from just one or two word, they were very similar and I had difficulties also doing SC at the real exam

Critical Reasoning:
This was my most hated part, I did pretty good in the easy or medium questions but really had troubles in the most difficult or 700 level ones. I started attacking this part, doing dozens of CR a day, all the CR in the OG, many on the forum and everywhere. I often preferred to to real gmat questions. I improved CR a little bit but not really as I wanted. I thought I was in a medium level about CR.

Reading:
I didn't like RC a lot and I didn't practiced it a lot. In 2-3 months I did about 150 RC passages maybe more. However in a wide range of time not concentrating enough on this part. I'll tell more about it in the next paragraph.

Quantitative:
Not much to say about Quant in the last month I did some exercises to not lose the skills and the procedures, the formulas ecc..
I knew it was my strenght in the Gmat, maybe if I dedicated enought time to it I could reach a higher score (48-49) but I gave precedence to Verbal.

In the following days I tried a CAT from Manhattan and I was surprized when I saw a 680 (Q45 V37) not so much for the Quant but for the Verbal, maybe I was really improving it, I was feeling good and more confident, but I many people, also in this forum say that Q is harder and V is easier in Manhattan, so I was cautious with this score.

I bought another GMATpack: examPack2. I wanted to test myself on different questions not seen before and see if I made some progresses. I did the first test last Monday, my new approach was to start from Verbal, cause I wanted to have more focus in that part. I thought I did good in the Verbal I was expecting at least a V34, in Quant I struggled a little bit and I was more tired however I went straight to the end, but inside me I wanted to see if I had improved in the Verbal section. I was schocked another time at the score: 580 (Q47 V24). I said WTF??!?? How was that possible?? I thought to have done a pretty good Verbal, I was incapacitated about my score.
Fortunately if you buy the new pack you can see what % you got in the single sections, so I discovered the reason of my failure: CR 58%, SC 77% and RC 18%. A stone would have done a better score in the RC than me. I didn't feel to have mistaken al those RC passages so I went straight to the correction: The first passage I got 3/4 it was ok, but at the second one I failed witha 0/4 and also the other two passages I got 2/4 in each.
That test opened my eyes: I SUCKED IN RC AND I HAD NOT UNDERSTOOD IT BEFORE

The exam was today so I got like 4 days to improve my RC: I made RC like a psycho, and I realized why I wasn't good at them, it wasn't about the understanding of the passage but about the differences in the answers, the passage was clear to me but I couldn't make a clear distinction in the answers. On Monday afternoon and Tuesday I read about 20-30 passages and I learned how to distinguish properly the answers and the questions. I really felt to improving the RC I wanted to retake the Gmatprep to see if that was true.

You know that in a GmatPrep database there is a limit number of questions but if you do it 2 times you shouldn't encounter repeated one so much: I started with Verbal as usual, I really felt like a dragon in the RC just the first one was really difficult and maybe I did some mistakes but I really thought to have done well in the others. All this RC preparation felt me to have improved my CR also and all Verbal I thought was going well. In Quant I was really concentrated trying to avoid any silly mistakes and I couldn't do just some hard questions, or questions that were taking too long.
This time I was surprised in the other way with the score: 710 (Q49 V38)

I was really feeling amazing, although I have already seen 2 or 3 questions during my practice I just felt amazing about the score. I saw the % of the single sections, RC really was amazing I got 41 in RC (88%), 77% in SC and 78% in CR. I didn't do so well in SC as I wanted but it was ok because I really did amazing in the RC and at that time I was really confident in that part. The aspect that really hit me was the fact that just as RC earlier put me down in V, now it got me really up. So I think that if you are really good in one part you can boost your score as you can sink it if you have major weaknesses. I got just 2 errors in all the RC passages, in the first one that was really hard.

Today I had the exam at 11 a.m I didn't practice Quant yesterday but I was feeling good about it, I knew I was better than before in Verbal but I didn't know how I would perform at the real test.
So here we go: starting from Verbal I felt I was doing well, the questions seemed quite hard but I thought I was answering correctly. The first two RC passages, my new favourite section, went well. Then at the third reading the trouble: I encountered a REALLY difficult RC passage about some types of loan, I understood very little about it and tried to make educated guesses for the answers. I was hoping to have 3 questions about it but there were 4, it's really possible that I got all 4 wrong, however I went straight to the end with still a pretty good impression about the V in general.

Here we go about the Quant: First question and I had a big trouble it was very hard and long: a word problem with 4 unknowns variables (if you want I can write you the question cause I remember it almost exactly, but I don't think I am allowede to do it), I knew I had to take many calculations, but no way I could find the answer. I wasted 5 minutes in the first question and I had to guess, not a good start. Then I found some easy medium questions but I still had some issues I wasn't smooth as always in my reasonings and I was feeling to do stupid mistakes. In the middle of the Quant section there was another EASY question I just couldn't figure out: I knew how to do it but the answer WAS NOT PRESENT IN THE ANWER CHOICES I checked it 3-4 times doing it in different ways, but no tha answer wasn't there. It was a serie on the denominator with common difference 5 and a serie at numerator with commmon difference 3, SUPER-EASY. I was really getting angry, so I had to guess also that one cause I was wasting too much time. So feeling late I started doing questions faster and then I was in advance with the time. But at the moment I really was feeling depressed I was sure to have done a mess with my Quant and I was sad and angry at the same moment.

Then I AWA with no desire I just wanted it to be all over cause it was a torture for me. I was sure to have got a V30+ and Q under 44-45.

So the score appared, worse than what I imagined: 570 (Q39 V29). I felt devastated in the inside. REMEMBER ONE THING (FROM MY POINT OF VIEW):
AT THE EXAM IF YOU THINK THAT YOU MADE A MESS , YOU HAVE REALLY MADE A MESS AND PROBABLY WORSE THAN WHAT YOU IMAGINED
.
Looking at the bright side I didn't do so well also in Verbal, cause having got a V33+ and that Quant would have really got me crazy.
Another thing that I believe and for which some will agree and some won't is: REAL EXAM QUESTIONS ARE REALLY MORE DIFFICULT THAN WHAT YOU HAVE TRIED ALSO ON GMATPREP, NOT ALWAYS BUT ON AVERAGE I HAD THIS FEELING
Ok someone will say that I underperform at the exam and I can't keep calm or whatever you want, of course I am more confident to do the test at home on a simulation but hey I GOT A 710 2 DAYS BEFORE ON THE OFFICIAL SIMULATION AND THEN I GOT 570 IN THE REAL TEST.
Ok I messed up in the Quant section but that it's not so fundamental, if I had score 45-46 however I would have ended with a 610-620 FAR FROM WHAT EXPECTED

This is the story, now I am over the second in-take for Essec and on the next two Months I will have my University exams so I cannot study Gmat.

The third deadline for Essec is on 22 February. If I do well I can finish my exams in the end of January, otherwise around 10 February
Now these are the options and I want to hear from you guys, please give me any advice you can:

1) I just give up on this damned test and I finish my applications for IE and ESCP where Gmat is not required, hoping to be accepted there, that it's not sure but I have some odds.

2) GIVE THE LAST TRY FOR GMAT, doing the test just a few days before the third deadline and hoping for the best for ESSEC. I really wanted to try it because I prepared the eassys and references very well. A friend of mine that is in my situation sent the application with a 590 in this in-take. Many people say that the second one is the best one for French universities but with a 590 I think they will spit on my application.
The ideal journey would be to finish my exams within January and then give all I got trying one last time the Gmat. In this time I would continue to do exercise to not lose my skills and go for the final rush.

THE THING THAT GOT ME REALLY MAD IS THE FACT THAT I KNOW I CAN DO WELL, MAYBE NOT 700+ SCORE BUT 650 OR MORE THAT WOULD BE ENOUGH FOR ME. BUT EVERY TIME AT THE REAL TEST I UNDERPERFORM. I THOUGHT IT WAS THE FIRST TIME BUT I COULDN'T BELIEVE TO DO EVEN WORSE IN THE SECOND ATTEMPT, NOT AFTER A 710 TWO DAYS BEFORE.

However, I really thank you all for your attention, sorry for my many mistakes in writing but I wrote really fast and I am still very angry and depressed, I got this score 8 hours ago and I do not know when I will recover.
A particular mention to 2 great guys that gave me motivation to study and to improve myself, every single day. I just cannot think to give up, I am sorry to have disappointed you: bb GMATNinja.
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My GMAT horror story [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2017, 10:16
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Hello Italian guy,
First of all congrats on getting started on your GMAT prep at the age of 22. You are way ahead of most people.

I hope some of these words will put things into perspective for you. You are 22 which means you are 5-6 years under the average age for most MBA programs. You have got plenty of time to get crush GMAT and your applications. Second I would assume that you're looking to get 2-3 years of experience before jumping into an MBA/Masters. I think most MBAs would prefer you have some solid work experience before starting their program.

Also since you have an Eng degree from a prestigious university then you shouldn't worry too much. The sky is the limit for you if you can spend the next 2-3 years wisely. I would caution you from jumping into the Junior MBA(masters)/MBA so quickly. Study for GMAT over the next year or so while you're working and really hit the 720+ gmat score to maximize your chance and scholarship amount. Gain some leadership experience and work on some meaningful work projects to really enhance your profile.... Onto GMAT:

You studied for what 2 month? Well it takes most people 3-4 months at least of hardcore studying before they hit a 600. So congrats there once again. Most people spend 3-4 months and still don't hit 600 that because more people are spending 6+ months of prep on the test. Maybe 10 years ago it was enough to study 2-3 months and hit a 700 but now its more like 6+ months at least. I would encourage you to make a 3-4 month plan and tackle every section with diligence. Spend a month in Quant, just quant. I know you've got an engineering background but it won't hurt to go over some of the tricks that GMAT throws at you. Second, go over sentence correction Manhattan book, CR Powerscore Bible and 100+ passages for RC.

Go watch GMATNinja's videos. All of em, go watch Thursdays with Ron videos. Study religiously for the next 3-4 months before taking another attempt. Stop testing yourself so much. BB has an excellent post about not using up all your test in 2-3 month period. Take a test maybe every 4 weeks. The Mocks are just to see where you are. The mocks don't teach you anything. You should spend all your time learning the concepts. Learning is the most important thing. Don't try to beat the test but learn how the test works and how the concepts are tested. Think of it like dieting, if you just jump up on the scale every week hoping to lost 5-10 pounds... its not going to work. You have to actually invest the time into a meal plan and exercise. The exercise and meal plan is going to help you lose the weight. Go over the OG if you haven't already. Make an error log and thoroughly cover all the concept gaps that you have.

Here's the bottom line. You thought GMAT was going to be a breeze. It wasn't. That's okay, you are not alone. This place is filled with horror stories. For every 750+ story, there are 100s of horror stories. We just don't see read the horror stories and assume that everyone scores 750 on their first attempt. Make a realistic plan and invest 3-4 months into GMAT. You are only 22. You have got all the time in the world. I would pay all the money I have to be 22 again.

Good luck.
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Re: My GMAT horror story [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2017, 10:37
jkolachi wrote:
Hello Italian guy,
First of all congrats on getting started on your GMAT prep at the age of 22. You are way ahead of most people.

I hope some of these words will put things into perspective for you. You are 22 which means you are 5-6 years under the average age for most MBA programs. You have got plenty of time to get crush GMAT and your applications. Second I would assume that you're looking to get 2-3 years of experience before jumping into an MBA/Masters. I think most MBAs would prefer you have some solid work experience before starting their program.

Also since you have an Eng degree from a prestigious university then you shouldn't worry too much. The sky is the limit for you if you can spend the next 2-3 years wisely. I would caution you from jumping into the Junior MBA(masters)/MBA so quickly. Study for GMAT over the next year or so while you're working and really hit the 720+ gmat score to maximize your chance and scholarship amount. Gain some leadership experience and work on some meaningful work projects to really enhance your profile.... Onto GMAT:

You studied for what 2 month? Well it takes most people 3-4 months at least of hardcore studying before they hit a 600. So congrats there once again. Most people spend 3-4 months and still don't hit 600 that because more people are spending 6+ months of prep on the test. Maybe 10 years ago it was enough to study 2-3 months and hit a 700 but now its more like 6+ months at least. I would encourage you to make a 3-4 month plan and tackle every section with diligence. Spend a month in Quant, just quant. I know you've got an engineering background but it won't hurt to go over some of the tricks that GMAT throws at you. Second, go over sentence correction Manhattan book, CR Powerscore Bible and 100+ passages for RC.

Go watch GMATNinja's videos. All of em, go watch Thursdays with Ron videos. Study religiously for the next 3-4 months before taking another attempt. Stop testing yourself so much. BB has an excellent post about not using up all your test in 2-3 month period. Take a test maybe every 4 weeks. The Mocks are just to see where you are. The mocks don't teach you anything. You should spend all your time learning the concepts. Learning is the most important thing. Don't try to beat the test but learn how the test works and how the concepts are tested. Think of it like dieting, if you just jump up on the scale every week hoping to lost 5-10 pounds... its not going to work. You have to actually invest the time into a meal plan and exercise. The exercise and meal plan is going to help you lose the weight. Go over the OG if you haven't already. Make an error log and thoroughly cover all the concept gaps that you have.

Here's the bottom line. You thought GMAT was going to be a breeze. It wasn't. That's okay, you are not alone. This place is filled with horror stories. For every 750+ story, there are 100s of horror stories. We just don't see read the horror stories and assume that everyone scores 750 on their first attempt. Make a realistic plan and invest 3-4 months into GMAT. You are only 22. You have got all the time in the world. I would pay all the money I have to be 22 again.

Good luck.



Thanks man, your words are encouraging. Unfortunately I am not studying the GMAT for an MBA but for a MiM (Master in Management). It's a different path from the usual MBA's program, it doesn't require much job experience and you can enroll immediately after a Bachelor degree.

Actually I am not planning to take an MBA, I need the GMAT for the MiM program, starting next September.

However, I thank you for your words, I will treasure them. The main thing that upset me it's not my score, but the wide difference from my GmatPrep score. I can't understand why I underperformed so much twice. For this reason, even after a great preparation I can't be sure to take a good score.
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Re: My GMAT horror story [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2017, 10:45
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Fedemaravilla wrote:
Thanks man, your words are encouraging. Unfortunately I am not studying the GMAT for an MBA but for a MiM (Master in Management). It's a different path from the usual MBA's program, it doesn't require much job experience and you can enroll immediately after a Bachelor degree.

Actually I am not planning to take an MBA, I need the GMAT for the MiM program, starting next September.

However, I thank you for your words, I will treasure them. The main thing that upset me it's not my score, but the wide difference from my GmatPrep score. I can't understand why I underperformed so much twice. For this reason, even after a great preparation I can't be sure to take a good score.


Sorry yeah I noticed that after posting. But keep your head up. GMAT is a tricky beast. Many people struggle to get past the 600 mark and many more struggle to get past the 700 mark. The most important thing to remember is that if you invest the time wisely you will get your desired score.

To understand the huge variance in GMATprep and actual GMAT is mainly the verbal section. The verbal questions in my opinion are far trickier in the actual GMAT. So you have to be prepared for that challenge. There are so many resources for the Quant section but not so much for the verbal section. So pick up the Manhattan SC book and study every single rule and understand it 100%. Also start doing lots and lots of passages. Its the only way to get better. Read a passage, analyze and then learn from the mistakes. Same for CR. Pick up the Powerscore Bible for CR. Study those for 2-3 months or as much time as you have. I think you can definitely improve you score significantly and hit 650 plus if you really study diligently.

Good luck!
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Re: My GMAT horror story [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2017, 11:14
Crap, I'm so sorry to hear the bad news, brother. And please don't feel like you've disappointed any of us! I think I can speak for bb here, too: we never judge or feel disappointed in anybody, we just want to see you succeed!

I can't really help too much with the questions about whether to retake the test. It just depends on how happy you are with the various options: if you're happy with IE and ESCP, then maybe it's not worth the investment in retaking the test. And I'm not terribly familiar with the admissions standards at ESSEC, so maybe a 590 would give you a good shot there -- I just don't know. I'm sure that some GMAT Club members in the MBA section of the forum might be able to give you some guidance with that if you need it.

If you do decide to retake, I think the biggest thing is to make sure that your results are really, really consistent BEFORE you head back in to take the test. It sounds like you had one really good practice test for verbal, but otherwise, the results were still bouncing around, and you didn't really have that much time to develop a consistent, systematic approach to questions that you would employ with 100% consistency every time. A few lucky people out there can just nail the verbal without too much effort, but for 99% of us, it just takes time to develop the consistency that you need, especially on adaptive test that can be really sensitive to errors on easier questions.

You've probably already seen this, but it might also help give you some ideas for what might have gone wrong: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 46658.html.

Keep me posted on what happens, Fedemaravilla! We're rooting for you.
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Re: My GMAT horror story [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 04:16
GMATNinja wrote:
Crap, I'm so sorry to hear the bad news, brother. And please don't feel like you've disappointed any of us! I think I can speak for bb here, too: we never judge or feel disappointed in anybody, we just want to see you succeed!

I can't really help too much with the questions about whether to retake the test. It just depends on how happy you are with the various options: if you're happy with IE and ESCP, then maybe it's not worth the investment in retaking the test. And I'm not terribly familiar with the admissions standards at ESSEC, so maybe a 590 would give you a good shot there -- I just don't know. I'm sure that some GMAT Club members in the MBA section of the forum might be able to give you some guidance with that if you need it.

If you do decide to retake, I think the biggest thing is to make sure that your results are really, really consistent BEFORE you head back in to take the test. It sounds like you had one really good practice test for verbal, but otherwise, the results were still bouncing around, and you didn't really have that much time to develop a consistent, systematic approach to questions that you would employ with 100% consistency every time. A few lucky people out there can just nail the verbal without too much effort, but for 99% of us, it just takes time to develop the consistency that you need, especially on adaptive test that can be really sensitive to errors on easier questions.

You've probably already seen this, but it might also help give you some ideas for what might have gone wrong: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 46658.html.

Keep me posted on what happens, Fedemaravilla! We're rooting for you.


Thank you my friend for your kinds words. I will see what happens in the next month and then I'll decide what's the bes option for me. I really would like to give one last try cause I am sure that 590 doesn't make justice to my effort and my preparations and I can give a lot more. I'll keep you informed on my future decisions.

I wish you a Merry Christmas, God bless you.
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My GMAT horror story [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 19:18
Fedemaravilla

Quote:
I really would like to give one last try cause I am sure that 590 doesn't make justice to my effort and my preparations and I can give a lot more.


I really hope you would. There is a dearth of warriors with massive improvements on this forum who inspire others
and I will look forward to see your topic changed from HORROR to SUCCESS.

Just an additional point in case you decide to retake. Make sure you get your ESR and work for at least a month
on your timing and weak areas.

All the very best for your future!
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My GMAT horror story   [#permalink] 26 Dec 2017, 19:18
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