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My public GMAT tracker - bombed first one - need to pick myself up

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My public GMAT tracker - bombed first one - need to pick myself up  [#permalink]

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New post 17 May 2019, 00:28
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Hi all,

I've been browsing this forum for about six months to look up answers and methods, greatly appreciate most threads I read here, but I've never participated. I'm starting a topic now because I will most likely have to re-take the GMAT and if it's ok with the mods here I'll use the forum as my own accountability diary. If there's public encouragement, constructive criticism, or input I'll gladly take that along - I'll keep it short for now, but will try to stick to it.

I started studying in earnest about six months ago, I then went through the Princeton Review quite quickly. I felt, however, that the book was more tailored toward people with a good foundation in maths, which I don't have. I have a political science degree (3.9 GPA equivalent from a school outside the western world) with economics concentrations. I've never struggled with maths at university but I did in high school. I work in business consulting but excel modelling doesn't really require advanced maths. Anyhow, I felt that further the Princeton Review focused on test taking strategies vs. enabling me to pick up the necessary maths foundation. I did solve all problems in the book, but still felt underprepared for most questions I could find for instance on this forum.

I then purchased the official GMAT practice books which immediately helped. From those, for about 95% of the topics, I was actually able to understand how and why methods were applied - I did all the questions in the quantitative one in particular and about 50% of the verbal ones, I have to admit I struggled with the last quarter of the quantitative ones, which were often too hard for me, but thought I had made good progress.

Now, because I'm not in a rush (was planning to start an MBA in either two or three years) I didn't stick to the tightest studying and revising regime, but did continue with a few hours dedicated every week. I booked the test for a couple of weeks into gardening leave due to me changing jobs.

My official practice results were:
710 Q46 V41
680 Q45 V38
710 Q47 V40
710 Q48 V40

with integrated reasoning never lower than 8 and once a 12.

I haven't purchased exam 5 + 6 (3+4 were free due to some sale) yet, but am strongly considering doing so, to get more actual tests. To achieve the above results the first two were taken with a break (lunch/coffee) between Q and V (QVIA) test 3 and 4 were taken in one sitting without actual breaks, but I did allow myself a glass of water on the desk.

As for the actual test, I ended up scoring a 640 (I think it was Q35 V 42, IR 5 haven't received official results yet), which for what I want to aim for (680-710 really, ideally with a 700) is simply too low (I don't mean to appear smug by calling this "bombed" it's just my sense based on the practice tests). On the day before the test and the actual test day everything that could go wrong went wrong. The test centre (which is just 10 minutes from me) where I had my booking at 11am cancelled the test due to network issues - I had to re-book. This majorly affected me already as the only available alternative was a test centre about 90 minutes away with an appointment at 8.15am (later date not possible due to flight...). I couldn't sleep one bit the night before, despite lack of coffee on that day, no screens three hours before sleeping, and food also around 3-4 hours before sleeping. To top it off, the train was delayed and I had to get a different connection for which I had to sprint halfway across town in 20 minutes (my city is clogged up at that time of day to use buses or cabs). I ended up getting a lot of the quantitative questions wrong that, topic-wise, I was confident about before.

I'm not making excuses, I think given that I couldn't sleep and also that I know I made a lot simple maths mistakes and errors I wasn't prepared enough, but I am also quite sure the circumstances around my appointment affected my score a measurable bit.

I am planning to re-take it, but now I'll have work overlapping with it (gardening leave will end before 16 day period) and I'm also extremely frustrated - was close to tears on the day right after the test. I need to pick myself up again and somehow find the motivation to keep what I know fresh in mind and to continue working on some areas of weakness somehow.

That's it for now.. just me jolting it down..
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Re: My public GMAT tracker - bombed first one - need to pick myself up  [#permalink]

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New post 17 May 2019, 09:15
Raphi wrote:
I am planning to re-take it, but now I'll have work overlapping with it (gardening leave will end before 16 day period) and I'm also extremely frustrated - was close to tears on the day right after the test. I need to pick myself up again and somehow find the motivation to keep what I know fresh in mind and to continue working on some areas of weakness somehow.

That's it for now.. just me jolting it down..
You're in a very good position to get a (really) good score. A drop from Q48 to Q35 is probably just the result of bad luck/circumstances. Keep at it, and all the best for the retake.
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Re: My public GMAT tracker - bombed first one - need to pick myself up  [#permalink]

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New post 17 May 2019, 09:44
Hello. I think you are very close to your target score, so you should retake ASAP. V40 is a great vrbal score so maybe brush up the quant part a bit and go for it.

Best wishes!
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New post 18 May 2019, 15:23
Thanks guys for the encouragement, I need that at the moment... :)

Update for myself - on Friday I was extremely down, but today started prepping a bit again. At this stage I think, albeit not as structured as many seem to be studying, I can find time to always revise a bit and build it up more but I'm going to have trouble finding a feasible new test date as I'm starting a new job - so aligning "being on top" and actually taking the test asap will be hard. I will aim for July/August and hope the new job allows home office on Fridays... it's client site otherwise.

Update for myself: I've decided I'm going to go with a three-pronged approach with the main goal of stabilising performance capacity and keeping things refreshed more so, in general I'm still hoping 7ish should be possible, although perhaps with 680 I could already get into INSEAD.

1. I will continue doing some more verbal questions on a near-daily basis. I've always scored well here and did 42 on the actual test. But I overall neglected studying this part - perhaps learning the actual concepts more will allow me to pull off an additional point here, or at least not drop from the 42.
2. I will revise the entirety of the maths concepts and also study basics again, just because I think this should avert blacking out, no matter how knackered out I might have been
3. Even though I will review basic concepts again I will continue doing daily practice covering all topics as I'm familiar already but need to become more comfortable.

What I did today: Did 20 quantitative questions from the official materials
Started Prep4GMAT app, to have blend of concepts review.

Annoying fact - the app predicted Q48 V29 which is very very far on how I have performed on both... but hey
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Re: My public GMAT tracker - bombed first one - need to pick myself up  [#permalink]

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New post 19 May 2019, 09:15
Hi Raphi,

I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT, but stay strong, my friend. The good news is that your V42 was higher than any verbal score from your practice exams, right? Regarding quant, I’m sure that the crazy sequence of events leading up to your GMAT had an effect on how you performed, and thus that could partly explain the drop in your quant score. It’s also possible that you had some lingering quant weaknesses that were exposed on test day. In any case, you need to pick yourself up and get back on the GMAT train. In order to stay fresh and continue to improve your quant skills, go through GMAT quant carefully to find your exact weaknesses and fill gaps in your knowledge. The overall process will be to learn all about how to answer question types with which you currently aren't very comfortable and do dozens of practice questions category by category, basically driving up your score point by point.

For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, then carefully review the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. 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. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

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.

So, work on accuracy and generally finding correct answers, work on specific weaker areas one by one to make them strong areas, and when you take a practice GMAT or the real thing, take all the time per question available to do your absolute best to get right answers consistently. The GMAT is essentially a game of seeing how many right answers you can get in the time allotted. Approach the test with that conception in mind, and focus intently on the question in front of you with one goal in mind: getting a CORRECT answer.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some new quant materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant courses. You also may find it helpful to read this article about
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Please reach out with any further questions.

Let’s do this!!
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New post 19 May 2019, 11:44
Hi Scott,

Thanks for the thorough response - you're definitely right in that part of the problem for me was/is not just the circumstances of the test day, but also some deep weaknesses/topics I wasn't actually comfortable with, although I usually got them when practising. I spent around three hours or so today reviewing and found, for example, that for many factor/multiple questions I would try to solve them by going through examples, instead of solving them mathematically, which is more precise, and actually quicker... so this is something I slowly started to rectify today by going through examples.

I do have to come up with an actual study plan and more practice questions, so am considering TargetPrep.
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New post 20 May 2019, 10:40
Well, Target Test Prep has both a structured study plan and a ton of quant problems - so I think the course could be a game changer for you. If you can complete the course, there is no reason why you can’t hit Q50+ on test day.

We offer a 5-day trial. So, you should give it a shot. If you have any further questions regarding the course, feel free to reach out.

Let’s do this!!
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Re: My public GMAT tracker - bombed first one - need to pick myself up  [#permalink]

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New post 20 May 2019, 17:16
Hi Raphi,

To start, studying for the GMAT now - years before you'll actually "need" your Score - is a smart choice. From what you described, you dealt with a variety of surprising, last-minute issues that would have hurt just about anyone's performance on Test Day, so you shouldn't get too down on yourself for this result. Based on your prior CAT Scores, you likely know most of the Quant and Verbal content just fine - but you might not be 'responding' to the Exam in the most efficient ways. By extension, while some content review might be worthwhile, a lack of knowledge is likely NOT why you scored Q35 on Test Day - so you would likely find it useful to work on your 'precision' and Tactics during this next phase of your studies.

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 your timeline and your goals:

1) When are you planning to retake the GMAT?
2) You mentioned an interest in INSEAD. Are you planning to apply to any other Schools?
3) Going forward, how much available study time do you think you will have each week?

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New post 21 May 2019, 06:12
Hi Rich,

Thanks for your input - any interaction - additional informed opinions here help me in general and also to get off my ass and continue. I absolutely agree it's ultimately a combination of lack of fully internalised knowledge (precision, go-to concepts, etc.) in quant. that hurt me. So at the moment I'm trying to continue with a good hour or more of daily review and mainly maths practice (official question bank - I actually was only doing it pen and paper before, so now am trying to make use of their analytics as well...)

To answer your questions:
1. It'll depend on my new job and also how "more" confident I feel... I would like to try to do it before end of August
2. I really absolutely want to attend INSEAD in 2-3 years - that would be my primary goal. That being said, I had selected (just for score report availability), Judge, LBS, IESE, and HKUST (Hong Kong) as alternatives and really, depending on where I end up GMAT-and work-wise, would consider backups St. Gallen, Imperial College as obviously at the moment the other ones are out of reach with that score
3. I'm still on gardening leave for another week and a half, so at the moment I'm actually doing a good 2 hours per day. Depending on discipline + other life factors I'd like to still aim for 1 a day on business days and more on the weekends


PS: Got my official score report today - AWA is a 6.0, Verbal 42 (97%) and Quant. 36 (29%), IR 5, so I'm doubly annoyed at myself now, I think if I had gotten anywhere close to my CAT scores it'd have been a 700, also not sure if I can replicate 42 again or if it might drop a point or two. But of course that doesn't really matter, need to focus on the next one anyway :).
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Re: My public GMAT tracker - bombed first one - need to pick myself up  [#permalink]

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New post 21 May 2019, 17:04
Hi Raphi,

While the ESR doesn’t provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define in a bit more detail 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. If you would rather not post it publicly, then you can feel free to PM or email me directly.

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Re: My public GMAT tracker - bombed first one - need to pick myself up   [#permalink] 21 May 2019, 17:04
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