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Need Help Fluctuating mock scores and low official score (560)

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New post 20 Feb 2019, 02:38
Dear GMAT Experts,

I just took official gmat test a couple days ago and scored 560 (Q40/ V27) which is way lower than I expected.
I just need minimum 600 to apply for the master program. (The university only needs the minimum score of 600 and it makes no difference if you score higher)

I have been studying for 2.5 months and I use Manhattan GMAT together with OG2018 and OG2019 for my question banks.
I took 4 GMAT prep tests and scored the following:
-27 December 2018: 510 (Q44/V17) This is my baseline score. I took the first mock test went through half of the GMAT materials on Manhattan.
-3 Feb 2019: 630 (Q45/V32)
-12 Feb 2019 580 (Q43/V27)
-14 Feb 2019 620 (Q43/ V33)

For the quant part, I left the last question unanswered which is really bad.
I also noticed that I had a lot of easy questions from the test and this got me wondering if the first 10 questions myth is true (I think I had to guess one or two question from the first ten questions).

For the verbal part, I got distracted for a few minutes by the test taker sitting next to me.
He made such a loud noise by hammering on his keyboard during my long passage questions (RC is already my weak area).
I couldn't concentrate and had to reread the passage from the beginning several time. Noise cancelling ear plug was no help at all.
However, towards the end of the exam I had an ample amount of time left (about 6 minutes)... again a really bad sign.

With all that said, can Gmatclub experts advise how should I approach from my preparation from today onwards?
My verbal scores fluctuate a lot (from above 30 to 27...) and my quant score is way below those from the mock exams...
Any advice as to why my scores fluctuate this much?

I am considering purchasing ESR. Is it worth purchasing?
I am planing to retake the exam in 1.5 month (The application deadline is in May 2019) and I need at least 40+ score improvement. Is this possible?

I am literally lost now as to how I should approach my Gmat preparation.
I went through all Manhattan books and the questions on OG2018 and OG2019 (and the questions are pretty much the same).
I am really bad at math and I am also not a native English speaker.

Any advices and suggestions on my study plan and how I can get consistent score are greatly appreciated.

Many thanks in advance!

Best regards,
Jarrie
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Re: Need Help Fluctuating mock scores and low official score (560)  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2019, 21:41
1
jarrie1992 wrote:
For the quant part, I left the last question unanswered which is really bad.
This would have had a minimal impact (or no impact whatsoever) on your score. You don't need to worry about this.

jarrie1992 wrote:
I also noticed that I had a lot of easy questions from the test and this got me wondering if the first 10 questions myth is true (I think I had to guess one or two question from the first ten questions).
What is your normal timing strategy?

jarrie1992 wrote:
For the verbal part, I got distracted for a few minutes by the test taker sitting next to me.
He made such a loud noise by hammering on his keyboard during my long passage questions (RC is already my weak area).
I hope this doesn't happen again, but if it does, you should raise your hand and let the proctor know about it.

jarrie1992 wrote:
Any advice as to why my scores fluctuate this much?
It's hard to say, but you should analyze your practice tests to find your weaknesses. Find out whether any concepts/question types are to blame for the score drops you see.

jarrie1992 wrote:
I am considering purchasing ESR. Is it worth purchasing?
You can get one, but don't go in expecting any major revelations.

jarrie1992 wrote:
I am planing to retake the exam in 1.5 month (The application deadline is in May 2019) and I need at least 40+ score improvement. Is this possible?
Yes. In fact, you are already capable of a 600+ score.
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Re: Need Help Fluctuating mock scores and low official score (560)  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2019, 23:01
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Hi Jarrie,

With a 560, you're closer to a 600+ than you probably realize. GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within about +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your various CAT score results - along with your Official Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 600 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes. The 'swings' in your Verbal Scaled Scores are likely due to a couple of lucky/unlucky 'guesses' in the Verbal section.

Based on your Q40/V27, you can actually pick up all of the missing points that you're after in the Quant section (meaning that you don't necessarily have to improve much - if at all - in the Verbal section to earn a 600+). It's worth noting that the Quant section of the GMAT is NOT a 'math test', so you don't have to become a 'math genius' to pick up those points in that section.

Based on the information that you have provided - and your goals - purchasing the ESR is probably NOT necessary. However, while the ESR doesn't provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

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) What application deadline(s) are you currently facing?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post Updated on: 22 Feb 2019, 02:39
EMPOWERgmatRichC

Quote:
Hi Jarrie,

With a 560, you're closer to a 600+ than you probably realize. GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within about +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your various CAT score results - along with your Official Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 600 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes. The 'swings' in your Verbal Scaled Scores are likely due to a couple of lucky/unlucky 'guesses' in the Verbal section.

Based on your Q40/V27, you can actually pick up all of the missing points that you're after in the Quant section (meaning that you don't necessarily have to improve much - if at all - in the Verbal section to earn a 600+). It's worth noting that the Quant section of the GMAT is NOT a 'math test', so you don't have to become a 'math genius' to pick up those points in that section.

Based on the information that you have provided - and your goals - purchasing the ESR is probably NOT necessary. However, while the ESR doesn't provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

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) What application deadline(s) are you currently facing?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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



Dear Rich,
Thank you so much for your detailed explanation! This means a lot.
My application deadline is on the 31st of May 2019. However, I hope to submit everything mid April the latest I have a planned vacation and certainly don't want to ruin it with gmat :( )
I am now studying full time at home and I can easily allocate my 6 hours a day on my prep.

I purchased ESR, wish I saw your post earlier :lol: .... but I am not allowed to attached the file on this post (I have to be a member at least 5 days and have at least 5 posts) :(
So below are the summary in text I copy paste from my ESR report.. Please let me know if there another way to share my ESR file...

VERBAL
• Your Verbal score of 27 is higher than 46% of GMAT Exam scores recorded in the past three years. The mean score for this section is 27.04.
• Your performance on Critical Reasoning questions was equivalent to a score of 28, which is better than 49% of GMAT Exam scores recorded in the past three years. The mean score for this sub-section is 27.59.
◦ Your performance of 75% on Analysis/Critique questions is considered Above Average.
◦ Your performance of 50% on Construction/Plan questions is considered Weak.
• Your performance on Reading Comprehension questions was equivalent to a score of 30, which is better than 57% of
GMAT Exam scores recorded in the past three years. The mean score for this sub-section is 27.29.
◦ Your performance of 66% on Identify Inferred Idea questions is considered Above Average.
◦ Your performance of 75% on Identify Stated Idea questions is considered Above Average.
• Your performance on Sentence Correction questions was equivalent to a score of 23, which is better than 34% of GMAT Exam scores recorded in the past three years. The mean score for this sub-section is 27.19.
◦ Your performance of 60% on Grammar questions is considered Average.
◦ Your performance of 28% on Communication questions is considered Very Weak.
• You completed 36 questions in the Verbal section.
• You responded correctly to 50% of the first set of questions, 71% of the second set of questions, 43% of the third set of
questions and 63% of the final set of questions.
• The average difficulty of questions presented to you in the first set of questions was Medium, the average for the
second set of questions was Medium , the average for the third set of questions was Medium and was Medium for the
final set of questions.
• The average time it took you to respond to the first set of questions presented was 1:43, the average time for the
second set of questions was 2:13, the average time for the third set of questions was 0:55 and 2:13 for the final set of
questions.


QUANT
Your Quantitative score of 40 is higher than 39% of GMAT Exam scores recorded in the past three years. The mean score for this section is 39.93.
• Your performance on Problem Solving questions was equivalent to a score of 39. Your score is better than 35% of all sub-section scores recorded in the past three years. The mean for all test takers is 39.91.
• Your performance on Data Sufficiency questions was equivalent to a score of 42. Your score is better than 41% of all sub-section scores recorded in the past three years. The mean for all test takers is 39.94.
• Your performance on Arithmetic questions was equivalent to a score of 35. Your score is better than 26% of all sub- section scores recorded in the past three years. The mean for all test takers is 40.02.
• Your performance on Algebra/Geometry questions was equivalent to a score of 47. Your score is better than 59% of all sub-section scores recorded in the past three years. The mean for all test takers is 39.88.
• Your performance of 75% on Geometry questions is considered Above Average.
• Your performance of 80% on Rates/Ratio/Percent questions is considered Above Average.
• Your performance of 66% on Value/Order/Factors questions is considered Above Average.
• Your performance of 80% on Equal./Inequal./Alg. questions is considered Above Average.
• Your performance of 40% on Counting/Sets/Series questions is considered Weak.
• You completed 31 questions in the Quantitative section.
• You responded correctly to 57% of the first set of questions, 86% of the second set of questions, 71% of the third set of
questions and 57% of the final set of questions..
• The average difficulty of questions presented to you in the first set of questions was Medium, the average for the
second set of questions was Medium, the average for the third set of questions was Medium and was Medium for the
final set of questions.
• The average time it took you to respond to the first set of questions presented was 1:12, the average time for the
second set of questions was 2:00, the average time for the third set of questions was 2:20 and 2:35 for the final set of
questions.

Again, many thanks for your kind attention.
Have a fantastic day ahead!
Jarrie

Originally posted by jarrie1992 on 22 Feb 2019, 01:52.
Last edited by jarrie1992 on 22 Feb 2019, 02:39, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 22 Feb 2019, 02:06
AjiteshArun

Thank you so much for your response :)

My timing strategy for quant is to allocate roughly 2 minutes per questions... and for verbal, I tried not to go more than 10 minutes for long passage RC and not more than 2 minutes on CR and RC.
Please let me know if I have to do some adjustment. As I have mentioned, I had roughly 6 minutes left in end and about 5 minutes left on quant and somehow managed to screw it up by leaving one question unanswered :cry:

For the loud noise, basically this guy was doing his AWA session so he was typing a lot on his keyboard while other students were doing quant or verbals. He was the only one that made noise in the room also finished the exam before everyone else. I can't blame him because gmat allow students to choose the order of their tests and book the test appointment at different time. You will always end up having one student typing with old lousy keyboards while the other were trying to focus on other parts.
I wish they had noise cancelling headphones at the test station or at least high quality ear plugs... not the one they are using :lol:

I just purchased ESR before your post ... wish I saw this earlier :(

Again, thank you for your kind words! I now have more motivation to crush this gmat exam!

Best regards,
Jarrie
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Re: Need Help Fluctuating mock scores and low official score (560)  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2019, 14:45
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Hi jarrie1992,

I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT. First off, you should realize that 2.5 months is not a TON of study time, so if you can get a solid study path and keep moving forward, you probably can hit your score goal. That said, since you recently scored a Q40/V27, it’s clear that you lack the GMAT quant and verbal fundamentals you need for a high score, right? Thus, moving forward, you will need to ensure that you follow a more linear and structured study plan that allows you to individually learn each quant and verbal topic, and practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. By studying in such a way, you can methodically improve your quant and verbal skills and thus fill in gaps in knowledge, so that you see less variation in your quant and verbal scores. Let me expand on this idea further.

Let’s say, for example, you are learning about Number Properties. First, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

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.

Follow a similar routine for verbal. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual Critical Reasoning topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each question type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and instead focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and thereby comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage. Furthermore, as you practice, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect Reading Comprehension answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. Keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to analyze such passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction is a bit of a different animal compared to Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. There are three aspects to getting correct answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions: what you know, such as grammar rules, what you see, such as violations of grammar rules and the logic of sentence structure, and what you do, such as carefully considering each answer choice in the context of the non-underlined portion of the sentence. To drive up your Sentence Correction score, it is likely that you will have to work on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending under two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see in order to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and those reasons are not that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answer were always the one that sounded right, then most people most of the time would get Sentence Correction questions correct, without really knowing why the wrong answers were wrong and the correct answers were correct. So, you have to go beyond choosing what "sounds right" and learn to clearly see the logical reasons why one choice is better than all of the others.

As for the third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct, what you do, the main thing you have to do is be very careful. You have to make sure that you are truly considering the structures of sentences and the meanings conveyed rather than allowing yourself to be tricked into choosing trap answers that sound right but don't convey meanings that make sense. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice repeatedly until you start to see the differences between the choices that make all choices wrong except for one. Often, when you first look at the choices, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. It may take time for you to see what you have to see. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to be determined to see the differences and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did that resulted in your arriving at that answer and what you could do differently in order to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could have done differently to extend your streak.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regimens, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your skills improve, you will then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

In order to follow the path described above, you may consider using an online self-study course, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses. You also may find it helpful to read this article about the phases of preparing for the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions. Good luck!
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Re: Need Help Fluctuating mock scores and low official score (560)  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2019, 18:06
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Hi Jarrie,

I think that you could potentially retest earlier than April and hit your Goal Score - and you appear to have plenty of time to study right now (which is good). While I appreciate the time you took to transcribe the information in your last post, I'd like to see your entire ESR. You can feel free to email it directly to me (at Rich.C@empowergmat.com). I think that if you post two more times on GMATClub, then you will be allowed to include attachments in your posts and PMs.

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Re: Need Help Fluctuating mock scores and low official score (560)  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2019, 20:57
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jarrie1992 wrote:
AjiteshArun

Thank you so much for your response :)

My timing strategy for quant is to allocate roughly 2 minutes per questions... and for verbal, I tried not to go more than 10 minutes for long passage RC and not more than 2 minutes on CR and RC.
Please let me know if I have to do some adjustment. As I have mentioned, I had roughly 6 minutes left in end and about 5 minutes left on quant and somehow managed to screw it up by leaving one question unanswered :cry:

For the loud noise, basically this guy was doing his AWA session so he was typing a lot on his keyboard while other students were doing quant or verbals. He was the only one that made noise in the room also finished the exam before everyone else. I can't blame him because gmat allow students to choose the order of their tests and book the test appointment at different time. You will always end up having one student typing with old lousy keyboards while the other were trying to focus on other parts.
I wish they had noise cancelling headphones at the test station or at least high quality ear plugs... not the one they are using :lol:

I just purchased ESR before your post ... wish I saw this earlier :(

Again, thank you for your kind words! I now have more motivation to crush this gmat exam!

Best regards,
Jarrie
It's good to see how positive you are!

A couple of points:
1. You can go through one possible timing strategy here. You'll get a better idea about what works for you as you take more tests.
2. You can still let the proctor know about the keyboard noise if it happens again (he or she can ask the other test taker to type softly). Otherwise, book the very first slot (though even that won't help if another test taker chooses the AWA-first section order). Remember that you can discuss your concerns with the proctor before your exam. That's the best time to discuss things like replacement markers and noteboards as well.
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Re: Need Help Fluctuating mock scores and low official score (560)  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Feb 2019, 02:53
ScottTargetTestPrep

Dear Scott,
Thank you so much for your time and all the tips and advises you share.
Will definitely go through all the concepts and make sure I truly understand them!
I went to all the links you have shared. They are indeed a great help.

Best regards,
Jarrie
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New post 26 Feb 2019, 11:36
My pleasure! Good luck!!
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New post 11 Mar 2019, 05:36
Dear jarrie1992,

You are very close to your target score. Having enough time in hand makes the situation even better. Your focus now should be on consistency. Consistency comes from clarity of understanding.

To ensure that you consistently score above 600 you must first ensure that you have the required understanding or ability in each sub-section. You can assess your sub-section level preparedness in terms of achieving the milestones – the targets that you set for each sub-section. Once you identify these, you will have a fool-proof path to your target score. GMAT will no longer be a black box where you hope for a certain score.

Identify clear milestones/targets

The Personalised Study Planner tool will help you understand where the improvement will come from as it will define clear targets(or milestones) in each sub-section and a path to reach a 650, in line with your strengths and weaknesses.

This Personalised Study Planner will help you:
    1. Determine the milestones to achieve your target score
    2. Identify where to spend time
    3. Estimation of the amount of effort required

The path from 560 to 600 takes around 2 weeks of effort. This is how your plan would look like. I have assumed your starting scores. As you have a more precise estimate you can refine the plan. Learn how you can refine the plan using your inputs.

Image


Image



How to improve?

Once, you know which area will give you the required improvement find out the topics or question types that you are not comfortable with. To get a precise feedback on these topics you can use the Scholaranium platform.

    • Take a Quant Ability Quiz or Verbal Ability Quiz depending on the area you choose to focus
    • Analyse the Skill Data section to identify the weak areas. You will get insights regarding your timing, accuracy, topic faltered on etc. as shown below.
    • Improve upon the weak areas to hit your target score.

Image

I am sharing a few free resources below to help you with the prep. You can get access to a lot more of these videos and practice questions once you sign up for the Free Trial.


Enhance your Application Skills

Continue practicing from the OG books, the focus being on confidently marking the answers each time.
To make the practice more effective, learn the right processes that will help you score high consistently. To do so you can attend the free CR session – Pre-thinking for Assumptions and Algebra Webinar this weekend. Learn through live interaction with the top-rated experts.

If you need further help with your preparation feel free to reach out to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com.

Regards,
Zinnia
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Re: Need Help Fluctuating mock scores and low official score (560)   [#permalink] 11 Mar 2019, 05:36
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Need Help Fluctuating mock scores and low official score (560)

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