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Need review on my ESR: Dismal GMAT Verbal Performance

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Need review on my ESR: Dismal GMAT Verbal Performance [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2017, 08:11
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Hi everyone,

I have been preparing for GMAT for last 4 months without a classroom program with help of Magoosh Premium Reference material and gave my GMAT attempt on 26th October. I took the attempt in the same order I used to attempt my CATs( Q, V, IR, AWA) but was really disgruntled by mc very low score in Verbal and hence canceled my score.
My attempt was actually on 26th Sept, but seeing my poor (accuracy and pace) in Verbal section and guidance from GMAT CLUB members, I took a decision of delaying my GMAT date by a month. This complete time went in vain, as Verbal section couldn’t have gone worse than what it did.I religiously completed the OG’17 and Maghoosh material by 26th September and last month gave my complete focus on improving my timing through mocks and Verbal-score-improving strategies.

Post-Rescheduling Preparation Strategy

CR
In last month I dedicated a week to complete PowerScore CR Bible, to help me boost my accuracy for CR but after completing it also I didn’t feel my accuracy became drastically better, Instead, my time per CR question increased from 2.15 to 2.45 min. I gave adequate importance to practice and used to attempt and analyze 15 CR questions daily to keep me in grip with the concepts.

RC
I used to attempt and analyze 5 RCs daily from Verbal Review’18 in an attempt to improve my RC timing and improve my accuracy. I managed to improve my timings to 8.5mins for a small RC and 10.5mins on average for a larger RC, I accept that this RC timing is still below par buy my accuracy went up to 75%, which was a good point.

SC
I used to practice SC from Verbal Review'18, picking up 20 questions per day and used to note down key concepts encountered in the process. I did increase my knowledge of idioms and grip on the core structure of SC. But I wasn’t able to bring down my timing below 1:45 on average.

In all, I increased my Verbal score from the mid-20s to early-30s and was kind of happy with the progress.

PS/DS
I used attempt quizzes/tests from GMAT CLUB every day in order to maintain my Quant score in a good range. I made some changes in my timing strategy in Quant which helped me with more control over my attempt. I noticed that I was better at PS than DS. So I decided, In case of timing crisis, I would skip on DS questions than PS ones.

Scores in CATs
1. GMATprep1 1st Sept 620(q 48 v 28)
2. GMATprep2 5th Sept 620(q 49 v 27)
3. MGMAT1 24th Sept 550(q 45 v 20)
4. MGMAT2 29th Sept 600(q 44 v 30)
5. MGMAT3 5th Oct 590(q 44 v 28)
6. MGMAT4 14th Oct 580(q 42 v 28)
7. MGMAT5 , 16th Oct 640(q 47 v 31)
8. MGMAT6 21st Oct 620(q 46 v 30)
9. GMATprep2 22nd Sept 680(q 50 v 32)

Reference Materials
1. Maghoosh online premium study material
2. MGMAT CATs
3. PowerScore CR Bible
4. GMAT OG 2017
5. Verbal Review 2018

Things that went/ did wrong during my attempt.

Screwed up with Break times
I was really nervous after completing my Quant section and didn’t see the watch put up in break area while going for the break, basically I didn’t clock the timing break of 8 minutes and ended up panicking and losing precious odd minutes in my verbal section.

No Emergency/back-up or calm down strategy in Verbal
I made a strategy on playing on my strengths(SC and RC) and skipping on CRs in case I am running behind my timing strategy, but didn’t plan for such anxiety scenarios where even strengths become equivalent to weaknesses. I didn’t plan a calming down plan, relevant self-enlightenment pauses which is like preparing for the extreme 5% scenario when it's not your day. This back-fired for me.

Problems that I feel were there in my preparation strategy

Not maintaining an Error Log
I realized why GMAT achievers stress so much on the importance of error log. Its because in the end at an official test, one is tested with questions and not theory, therefore it makes sense revising questions in last 2-3 weeks rather than stressing too much on theory. Error log helps to establish substantial evidence as well, that you have succeeded in increasing your accuracy and deserve a level-up in your skills. Whereas CAT just lets you understand your current level and practice strategies, ErrorLog helps you develop confidence on your skillset by mapping the areas exactly where you lagging behind. But I feel its really tedious in keeping a note of all the questions of all the questions solved during a day with information. I would like to know how people of GMAT Club group dealt with this?

Lack of consistent Verbal Timing Strategy
I tried different verbal strategies throughout my GMAT study period (4 months), tried ( t-q 75-0 56-10 37-20 19-30) initially, then went to Manhattan yellow pad technique of 9 per page, but just test day morning, I decided poorly and went to 5 questions 9 min per page strategy, which made me panic and stabbed me in the gut. I was taken into the verbal section, where I completed the first two questions in 6 minutes, I was so trembling in anxiety then, words of the first RC didn’t make sense at all, I re-read first para twice, so that If I will get 3 questions of the RC in a flow, I would build up on top of that, but not having a clear timing strategy made me look at the timer again and again. The CR and SC were not making sense since I was so nervous saving my ass. I ended up only attempting 2 of the 4 RC’s and skipping rest. The vicious cycle took a toll on my actual GMAT Verbal Score.

I would be really grateful if GMAT experts could guide me right approach/guidance to achieve my target GMAT score of 710. I would like to ask all GMAT CLUB experts to analyze my ESR and my preparation strategy in order to help me jot down on wrong choices I made during my preparation.
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Re: Need review on my ESR: Dismal GMAT Verbal Performance [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2017, 12:32
Hey pun91

I'm no Expert but I thought I should try and give you my perspective of your ESR

This is how the experimental questions are arranged in the Verbal Section
2|10...3|10....3|10....3|11

From your ESR in the Verbal section
Question 1-10(8 scored) - 6 correct, 2 wrong
Question 11-20(7 scored) - 4 correct, 3 wrong
Question 21-30(7 scored) - 4 correct, 3 wrong
Question 31-41(8 scored) - 2 correct, 6 wrong


-> From my understanding, every time you encountered a tough question you made a mistake
and that's the reason you were not able to progress ahead in the test.

-> Another important take away from your ESR is that it seems like you have not put enough
effort on the Reading Comprehension section. You have spent an average of around a minute
on each question which could have probably led to the majority of your mistakes, thereby
leading to the 5th percentile on that section.

-> You need to improve your CR skills as well(as you have scored in the 22nd percentile)

-> As far as Quant is concerned, you need to work on 700+ questions to get to Q50
(which is easily achievable). I would recommend the GMATClub Tests for Quant in order
to improve the scores.

IMO, you need to get back to basics as far as CR and RC are concerned. I would suggest
going through the PowerScore CR Bible for Critical reasoning to build your concepts and
use the workbook feature and GMATClub to improve your CR(by doing the 600-700 level questions)

For Reading comprehension, you should read this post : RC Strategy Guide

I am certain the experts on the forum will be able to give you a more detailed analysis on your ESR.

Hope that helps you in some way!
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Re: Need review on my ESR: Dismal GMAT Verbal Performance [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2017, 16:42
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Hi Puneet,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as planned. 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?

It's possible that you just had a 'bad day', but before I analyze your CAT, I'd like to better define a number of other 'variables' involved with how you studied and how you handled Test Day. Regardless of this one performance, the GMAT is still the same consistent, predictable Exam that it's always been, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Need review on my ESR: Dismal GMAT Verbal Performance [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2017, 07:24
Hi pushpitkc

Quote:
Another important take away from your ESR is that it seems like you have not put enough effort on the Reading Comprehension section.

I did put good amount of practice for RCs, but I used to do practice from hardbound OG instead of software simulator of OG (since the s/w used to throw questions from RC in a non-continuous manner) I guess this may be one of the reasons I would have found it less familiar attempting them in actual GMAT. I attempted only two out of four RCs, this would have led to small average time per question.

Quote:
IMO, you need to get back to basics as far as CR and RC are concerned. I would suggest
going through the PowerScore CR Bible for Critical reasoning to build your concepts and
use the workbook feature and GMATClub to improve your CR

I did read from Powerscore CR Bible and did practice CRs post-completion, but I felt, I became too-observant on minute details in CR arguments which in turn increased my average time per question in this category. It would be really helpful if fellow members could suggest any practice strategy post-completion of CR bible? (Because I have only heard good things about this book and want to utilize its knowledge in a proper manner)

Quote:
As far as Quant is concerned, you need to work on 700+ questions to get to Q50
(which is easily achievable). I would recommend the GMATClub Tests for Quant in order
to improve the scores.

I certainly agree with this.
Thanks for the insights from my ESR pushpitkc
I'll follow and incorporate the suggestions that you provided while preparing for my retake. :)
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Re: Need review on my ESR: Dismal GMAT Verbal Performance [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 01:17
Hi EMPOWERgmatRichC

Quote:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?

Out of 9 mocks I gave, last 5 of them were taken with Essay and IR sections in one go.

Quote:
2) Did you take them at home?

Yes, but I ensured I was separated from all chores, for that period of 3.5 hours.

Quote:
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?


No, the last mock I took before actual GMAT was on 21st, whereas my actual GMAT was on 26th

Quote:
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.)?

When I used to feel that some section in CAT is going nowhere right and is getting messed up, I used to pause it, calm down and then re-concentrated on it. But I ensured I didn't do this in my last 2-3 CATs before the actual GMAT

Quote:
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE?

Only GMAT PREP tests as mentioned above.
GMAT prep1 test was taken once I skipped essays didn't get the result, so I gave it once again just after on same day, and I saw some repeats, but since I didn't see the solutions to these, I didn't know whether I answered them in the right manner in the first place.

GMAT prep2 test was re-taken with a different intention to get a feel for the actual GMAT test questions and environment just before the actual GMAT, and yes I saw some questions repeated.

Would love to some ESR insights and suggestions.
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Re: Need review on my ESR: Dismal GMAT Verbal Performance [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 17:14
Hi Puneet,

I've sent you a PM with some notes/suggestions based on your ESR.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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www.empowergmat.com/

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Re: Need review on my ESR: Dismal GMAT Verbal Performance   [#permalink] 10 Nov 2017, 17:14
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