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my gmatprep scores are getting lower and lower

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New post 01 Nov 2018, 06:57
Dear friends and experts,
As the title says, my scores at gmatpreps are getting lower and lower despite my more studies and this is frightening me.
Exam 1: 680 (q48/v35) Oct 13 2018
Exam 2:680 (q50/v32) Oct 16, 2018
Exam 3: 690 (q49/V35) Oct 20, 2018
Exam 4: 660 (q49/ V30) Oct 27, 2018
Exam 5: 650 (q48/ V33) Nov 01, 2018
When I got my first testprep, I was full of stress. Even I can tell you that in the first 3 exams, I didn’t follow any time management strategy. I remember that in exam3, I guessed the last five questions. On the other hand, in the last two exams, I tried not to guess many questions at the end of the tests and expected a +700 score.
I don’t know why this is happening. I went through many threads and taught about many possibilities such as the familiarity of questions. But these are not the case, and I don’t know where I have been going wrong in these 15 days. In these days I just review SC question of OG18, did gmatclub tests and practice some OG CR&RC questions. I need to reach 90th percentile, and it’s fading away.
I appreciate any help from all members.
In the quant section, I’ve experienced something weird; sometimes, in the first ten question, I feel that some of them are harder than a medium level question. Is it possible that GMAT starts the test, not with the medium difficulty questions?
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New post 01 Nov 2018, 12:45
1
Hi heartbanger97,

To start, GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your 5 CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 670 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of your CATs consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes. The 'swings' in your Scores could literally come down to a few lucky/unlucky guess on your part. For example, how often do you 'narrow a Verbal question down to 2 choices and then "guess"?'

Beyond those details, it's important to remember that taking lots of CATs will NOT make you a better Test Taker. A CAT is really a 'measuring device' - when used correctly, it will give you a realistic score and help define your strengths and weaknesses, but it will NOT help you to fix any of those weaknesses. To raise your scores, you have to put in the necessary practice and repetitions. The CAT will show you whether your studies are helping you to improve or not. In addition, the process of taking (and reviewing) a CAT requires a significant amount of energy and effort - and takes time to 'recover' from. This is one of the reasons why you typically shouldn't take more than 1 CAT per week. You've taken 5 CATs in about 2.5 weeks and your lowest scores are at the END of that cycle.

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) How long have you studied?
2) What study materials have you used so far?

Goals:
3) What is your goal score?
4) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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New post 01 Nov 2018, 23:14
Dear Rich,
Thank you so much for your time and help.
You're right that I have taken more than usual number of cat.
My main reason was that I assume I have serious problem with time management.
After each cat, i review all of my answers (both correct and incorrect). I haven't seen any specific pattern of wrong answers, it seems it depends on the difficulty level of the questions and the level of stress which I'm experiencing.

In reading, I try to answer all questions by my first read, in my recen cat, I noticed that this led to some wrong answers.
In my last cat, in cr section, I made more than usual mistakes. My sc improved though.

I don't exactly know what do you mean by extensive review of cat. I appreciate if you could elaborate more on this.

About the questions which you asked,
Studies:
1- I've been studying for around six months. But most of time was spent on the SC section.
2- I enrolled in the e-gmat verbal online and used their SC courses.
I've read mgmat sc book. Mgmat verbal fundamental. Powerscore cr bible.
I've finished all og and verbal review questions of sc section 3 times. Cr questions one time. And rc questions of just og one time.
In quant section, i finished mgmat books and did og questions. In recent weeks, I've been doing gmat club tests CATs in quant section two or three times a week.

Goal:
3-This is a hard question. At this time my goal is to pass 700 barrier
I've scheduled my test for November 15th.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: my gmatprep scores are getting lower and lower  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2018, 10:27
1
Hi heartbanger97,

Assuming that your current 'ability level' is right around 670, you're actually closer to a 700+ than you probably realize. At higher-and-higher score levels, the GMAT becomes really 'sensitive' to little mistakes though (especially on 'gettable' questions) - so you cannot afford to be losing too many questions to little mistakes.

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix'). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your last CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: my gmatprep scores are getting lower and lower  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2018, 12:49
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi heartbanger97,

Assuming that your current 'ability level' is right around 670, you're actually closer to a 700+ than you probably realize. At higher-and-higher score levels, the GMAT becomes really 'sensitive' to little mistakes though (especially on 'gettable' questions) - so you cannot afford to be losing too many questions to little mistakes.

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix'). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your last CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Dear Rich,
At first, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your time and help.

In RC, generally, I miss details question in long passages as I want to answer all of the questions with just one read. I also have problem with inference or weakening questions in RC. If I don’t understand passage completely, there is a high chance that I will miss these questions. I missed 4 rc questions that I believe, I could get 2 of them right.
I’ve realized that I have a problem with keeping my attention 100 percent devoted to the passages. When this happens in RC or CR, my accuracy fall dramatically and my timing also increases which would lead to the following time shortage and probably more wrong answer in the following questions.
Here are my answers to your questions
1) Stupid mistakes: 1 CR 1SC, 6quant questions (the 1st, 5th, 10th, 13th, 14th, 25th )
2) I think that it was just one SC questions which was using an idiomatic usage of AS, and I forgot that idiom.
3) Hard questions or not understanding the question: 4 CR, 1 hard quant question
4) Guess the last two questions and get them wrong. I think that I guessed another two question
5) Guessing between two choices but guess wrong: 2 SC
6) Not so confident but answered correctly: 1SC
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Re: my gmatprep scores are getting lower and lower  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2018, 12:54
1
Hi heartbanger97.

Let's start with the easy question, does quant start with hard questions. The answer is "no". However, it seems conceivable that your personal quant skill set fits harder questions better than it fits medium questions, and so the medium ones seem harder to you than the harder ones do.

Next, if you look closely at your scores, you can see that the truth is not exactly that they have gone down, but rather that they are bouncing around in a fairly narrow range and have not increased. On this latest test, you scored Q48, which is right about where you started, and V33, which is higher than you scored in verbal on two previous occasions.

Still, the questions remain. What is going on, and what can you do to get your score to increase?

Given that you have been preparing for months and your score has not increased at all, there are two possibilities. One is that you are incapable of increasing your score. The second is that what you are doing to prepare is not what you have to do to in order to increase your score.

The first possibility is actually completely ridiculous. I personally don't believe in so called "peak scores", but even someone who does would acknowledge that a person who has no experience with the GMAT should see at least some increase as a result of preparing for months - somewhere between 50 and 100 points anyway - and you have seen none.

So, we are left with the second possibility, that what you have been doing to prepare for the GMAT is not what you personally have to do in order to hit your score goal, and many people have this type of experience.

One cool thing here is that, once you start preparing effectively and achieve a 50 - 100 point increase, you will score somewhere in the 700 - 770 range.

I am not sure what you have been doing exactly, but since your score has not been increasing, I have some idea.

Probably, you went through the materials and learned a bunch of rules and strategies. Great. OK. Those things are useful, BUT they land people pretty much right where you are, in the mid 30's in verbal and in the mid 600's overall. In fact, all that stuff can be less effective than a person's original instincts, and so learning it can result in decreasing rather than increasing scores.

So, what do you have to do differently?

I would say that you have learned all about the GMAT, now you have to learn what to DO to score higher. You have to develop your vision, so that you see more, in terms of ideas for how to answer questions and in terms of what the questions say, especially in verbal, and you have to learn to execute better.

Yes, for you at this point, GMAT preparation is about learning to see what you have to see and about learning to execute, to do what you have to do in order to consistently arrive at correct answers.

To practice executing, you have to slow WAY down in practice. The GMAT is not a guessing game, one that you will succeed at by practicing answering questions in one reading. Rather it's a game of doing what it takes to get things done, even if at first getting correct answers takes you ten minutes per question or more.

So, my overall suggestion to you is that you put strategy books and whatever else away for the most part, find a good source of practice questions, and focus on learning to get correct answers consistently, even if you have to spend ten minutes or more per question. Once you are getting 90 percent or more of questions correct taking as long as you need to in order to answer them correctly, then start seeking to speed up.

On another note, you seem strong in quant, but clearly you could be stronger. So, for quant, my suggestion is that you think over all the types of quant questions that you see and determine which ones you like to see and which ones you would prefer not to see. Then work on becoming an expert in answering the ones that you are not that excited to see, by learning all about them, and answering dozens of each type, carefully and slowly, and voila, you will be excited to see all kinds of quant questions, and you will kill quant.

Finally, for most people, correctly answering RC questions takes referring back to the passages repeatedly as they go through answer choices.

OK, if you want some more ideas on how to prepare, let me know.

You could also check out this article: https://www.businessbecause.com/news/gm ... percentile

and these blog posts: https://blog.targettestprep.com/how-to- ... 0-on-gmat/ https://blog.targettestprep.com/improve-gmat-score/
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Re: my gmatprep scores are getting lower and lower  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2018, 17:33
1
Hi heartbanger97,

From what you describe, there are 2 note-worthy factors that are keeping you from your Score Goal: silly/little mistakes and the idea that you have to understand/memorize every detail in a CR/RC prompts. To start, between the Quant and Verbal sections, there are only 67 questions. Based on your analysis of your last CAT, you got 7 questions wrong (that's over 10% of the Exam) because of some avoidable mistakes. To score at a high level on the GMAT, you cannot "absorb" that many missed opportunities. This ultimately means that you have to work on doing more thorough, organized work on your PAD (NOT "in your head").

When dealing with CR and RC passages, you don't have to understand every word that you read - and you should be taking notes as you read (instead of trying to memorize what the prompt discusses). Those prompts are all based on patterns, but if you're not noting the patterns (again, on your pad), then it becomes far more difficult to define what the correct answer to each question will likely end up stating. By extension, you end up having to read and reread the prompt and the answers, which can potentially add to the 'confusion' and cost you time.

You could potentially 'fix' these issues over the course of the next 2 weeks, but doing so will require that you change how you 'see' (and respond to) the Exam. If you've developed any 'bad habits' during your prior studies, then you might need more time to fix these issues though (and replace the bad habits with new "good habits").

You did not define your overall timeline in much detail. Are you planning to apply to Business School soon? If you are not facing any immediate application deadlines, then you might consider pushing your Test Date back a couple of weeks so that you can adapt your approaches and more thoroughly work to hone your skills.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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www.empowergmat.com/

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Re: my gmatprep scores are getting lower and lower  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2018, 21:37
MartyMurray wrote:
Hi heartbanger97.

Let's start with the easy question, does quant start with hard questions. The answer is "no". However, it seems conceivable that your personal quant skill set fits harder questions better than it fits medium questions, and so the medium ones seem harder to you than the harder ones do.

Next, if you look closely at your scores, you can see that the truth is not exactly that they have gone down, but rather that they are bouncing around in a fairly narrow range and have not increased. On this latest test, you scored Q48, which is right about where you started, and V33, which is higher than you scored in verbal on two previous occasions.

Still, the questions remain. What is going on, and what can you do to get your score to increase?

Given that you have been preparing for months and your score has not increased at all, there are two possibilities. One is that you are incapable of increasing your score. The second is that what you are doing to prepare is not what you have to do to in order to increase your score.

The first possibility is actually completely ridiculous. I personally don't believe in so called "peak scores", but even someone who does would acknowledge that a person who has no experience with the GMAT should see at least some increase as a result of preparing for months - somewhere between 50 and 100 points anyway - and you have seen none.

So, we are left with the second possibility, that what you have been doing to prepare for the GMAT is not what you personally have to do in order to hit your score goal, and many people have this type of experience.

One cool thing here is that, once you start preparing effectively and achieve a 50 - 100 point increase, you will score somewhere in the 700 - 770 range.

I am not sure what you have been doing exactly, but since your score has not been increasing, I have some idea.

Probably, you went through the materials and learned a bunch of rules and strategies. Great. OK. Those things are useful, BUT they land people pretty much right where you are, in the mid 30's in verbal and in the mid 600's overall. In fact, all that stuff can be less effective than a person's original instincts, and so learning it can result in decreasing rather than increasing scores.

So, what do you have to do differently?

I would say that you have learned all about the GMAT, now you have to learn what to DO to score higher. You have to develop your vision, so that you see more, in terms of ideas for how to answer questions and in terms of what the questions say, especially in verbal, and you have to learn to execute better.

Yes, for you at this point, GMAT preparation is about learning to see what you have to see and about learning to execute, to do what you have to do in order to consistently arrive at correct answers.

To practice executing, you have to slow WAY down in practice. The GMAT is not a guessing game, one that you will succeed at by practicing answering questions in one reading. Rather it's a game of doing what it takes to get things done, even if at first getting correct answers takes you ten minutes per question or more.

So, my overall suggestion to you is that you put strategy books and whatever else away for the most part, find a good source of practice questions, and focus on learning to get correct answers consistently, even if you have to spend ten minutes or more per question. Once you are getting 90 percent or more of questions correct taking as long as you need to in order to answer them correctly, then start seeking to speed up.

On another note, you seem strong in quant, but clearly you could be stronger. So, for quant, my suggestion is that you think over all the types of quant questions that you see and determine which ones you like to see and which ones you would prefer not to see. Then work on becoming an expert in answering the ones that you are not that excited to see, by learning all about them, and answering dozens of each type, carefully and slowly, and voila, you will be excited to see all kinds of quant questions, and you will kill quant.

Finally, for most people, correctly answering RC questions takes referring back to the passages repeatedly as they go through answer choices.

OK, if you want some more ideas on how to prepare, let me know.

You could also check out this article: https://www.businessbecause.com/news/gm ... percentile

and these blog posts: https://blog.targettestprep.com/how-to- ... 0-on-gmat/ https://blog.targettestprep.com/improve-gmat-score/

very wise advice, thanks for your response
I will definitely consider them and try to apply them. I have always been thinking about why each answer choices is incorrect or why it is correct.

As a side point, it's not true that I haven't made any progress in months. If you take a look at the date of gmatprep exam, you see that I took then in about 3 weeks.
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New post 02 Nov 2018, 21:47
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi heartbanger97,

From what you describe, there are 2 note-worthy factors that are keeping you from your Score Goal: silly/little mistakes and the idea that you have to understand/memorize every detail in a CR/RC prompts. To start, between the Quant and Verbal sections, there are only 67 questions. Based on your analysis of your last CAT, you got 7 questions wrong (that's over 10% of the Exam) because of some avoidable mistakes. To score at a high level on the GMAT, you cannot "absorb" that many missed opportunities. This ultimately means that you have to work on doing more thorough, organized work on your PAD (NOT "in your head").

When dealing with CR and RC passages, you don't have to understand every word that you read - and you should be taking notes as you read (instead of trying to memorize what the prompt discusses). Those prompts are all based on patterns, but if you're not noting the patterns (again, on your pad), then it becomes far more difficult to define what the correct answer to each question will likely end up stating. By extension, you end up having to read and reread the prompt and the answers, which can potentially add to the 'confusion' and cost you time.

You could potentially 'fix' these issues over the course of the next 2 weeks, but doing so will require that you change how you 'see' (and respond to) the Exam. If you've developed any 'bad habits' during your prior studies, then you might need more time to fix these issues though (and replace the bad habits with new "good habits").

You did not define your overall timeline in much detail. Are you planning to apply to Business School soon? If you are not facing any immediate application deadlines, then you might consider pushing your Test Date back a couple of weeks so that you can adapt your approaches and more thoroughly work to hone your skills.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Dear Rich,
I have been thinking about how am I going to approach RC questions from the first day of my preparation. Although many have advised on taking notes, I have a problem with that and didn't know how my notes are going to help me especially when my notes are noting more than general ideas of each paragraph and don't encompass details of the passage which are the points that I usually falter. As a result, I gave up taking notes and tried to enhance my speed and understanding.
I don't know if I should reconsider this strategy again or not. As far as I keep myself engage in the passage and devote all my attention to the passage, my accuracy in RC and CR is satisfactory. I try to take another look in how to take note in an efficient and helpful way and see if this time I could get some benefit from taking notes.
About my timeline, honestly, I can not reschedule my exam, I'm approaching to deadlines very fast.
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New post 03 Nov 2018, 07:28
1
Hi heartbanger97,

Have you used Scholaranium for practice i.e. have you taken Ability Quizzes or Custom Quizzes in Scholaranium? I ask this because if you have, there is a lot that you can learn from the data available in the Skill Data section and improve. I would request you to write to us at support@e-gmat.com using your registered email id so that we can take a look at the Scholaranium data and share insights with you on how you can do better.

Looking forward to your mail.

Regards,
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Re: my gmatprep scores are getting lower and lower  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Nov 2018, 08:03
egmat wrote:
Hi heartbanger97,

Have you used Scholaranium for practice i.e. have you taken Ability Quizzes or Custom Quizzes in Scholaranium? I ask this because if you have, there is a lot that you can learn from the data available in the Skill Data section and improve. I would request you to write to us at support@e-gmat.com using your registered email id so that we can take a look at the Scholaranium data and share insights with you on how you can do better.

Looking forward to your mail.

Regards,
Aditee


Dear Aditee,
Thanks for your response. My usage of Scholaranium was limited to only two or three ability quizes; As I didn't have much time, I decided to devote my time on OG questions.
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Re: my gmatprep scores are getting lower and lower  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2018, 17:21
1
Hi heartbanger97,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Let’s start off with the good news: Your quant scores, ranging from 48 to 50, have been pretty great, right? Thus, it’s clear that verbal is holding you back. Furthermore, I think the real issue here is that you have been taking practice exams before you are ready. GMAT practice tests best serve two main purposes. The first purpose is to provide diagnostic information. In other words, by taking a practice test, you can get a sense of what types of GMAT questions you’re comfortable answering and arrive at a reasonable estimation of how you would score on the GMAT at that point in time. The second purpose is, naturally, to provide a way to practice taking the GMAT and handling its various challenges, such as time pressure and the varying difficulty of the questions presented.

People often misuse practice tests as primary learning tools. You may have seen posts that go something like the following: A person with a score goal of 740 has been preparing for six weeks, has already taken all six of the official practice tests, and is wondering why her scores have been 600, 590, 570, 610, 600, and 560. In such a case, the person likely has been using practice tests as primary learning tools, meaning that taking practice tests has been much of, or possibly most of, what she has been doing to drive up her score.

Can practice tests be used as valuable tools for learning and continued score improvement? Yes, of course they can, if they are used properly and at optimal times in your preparation. However, practice tests should not be used as primary learning vehicles, because practice tests don’t really provide the kind of practice that you need to increase your score. To improve your score, you need to learn the basics of answering various types of GMAT questions, and then practice applying what you have learned by carefully answering practice questions in order to learn to answer them correctly. When you first learn how to answer a particular type of question, answering that type of question correctly can easily take way longer than the two minutes or so per question that you are allotted when taking the GMAT (or a practice test). The two minutes per question can fly by, and if you want to finish sections of the test on time, in many cases, regardless of whether you have figured out how to answer a question, you may have to just answer and move on. So, while taking a practice test can be a great way to work on your overall approach to taking the GMAT, it’s not a great way to practice getting right answers to various types of questions. To effectively prepare for the GMAT, you have to practice answering questions of each type without the time constraints of the test and work up to a point at which you can answer questions of each type in around two minutes. There is very limited utility in taking practice tests before you have done substantial preparation. When you take multiple practice tests early in your prep, the tests simply underscore exactly what you already know: you need to learn more content and develop more skills to hit your score goal. Why spend three hours taking a practice test just to learn what you already know, wasting a valuable learning tool in the process?

Of course, you can benefit from taking one diagnostic practice test early in your preparation. Furthermore, once you’ve done substantial preparation and mastered much of the content tested on the GMAT, when you sit for practice tests, they will actually show, to some degree, lingering weak areas that require further study. I say “to some degree” because although practice tests provide a pretty good approximation of how a person would score on the GMAT at a particular point in time, because the sample size of questions on any practice test is rather small (31 quant questions and 36 verbal questions), practice tests don’t do a very good job of pinpointing specific areas of weakness.

For example, let’s assume that of the 31 quant questions on a given practice test, you encounter one Rate-Time-Distance question and get it wrong. Should you conclude that you need extensive work on Rate-Time-Distance questions? Of course not. Similarly, what if you correctly answered the Rate-Time-Distance question? Are you good to go on those questions? Maybe. But maybe not. In fact, let’s assume that you took six practice tests, saw a total of six Rate-Time-Distance questions, and correctly answered them all. Can you conclude that you’re solid on Rate-Time-Distance questions? Probably not. One thing that makes the GMAT challenging is the vast potential for variation in the questions. There are hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of variations of Rate-Time-Distance questions that can appear on the test. So, correctly answering five or six (or ten) Rate-Time-Distance questions doesn’t really tell you too much. You must take care not to over-infer based on practice tests alone.

Before taking any more practice exams, you need to ensure that you spend the necessary time to improve your verbal skills. If you’d like any further advice on how to do so, please reach out, and I’d be happy to help. You also may find it helpful to read this article about
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions.
_________________

Scott Woodbury-Stewart
Founder and CEO

GMAT Quant Self-Study Course
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Re: my gmatprep scores are getting lower and lower &nbs [#permalink] 04 Nov 2018, 17:21
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