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Please support. Despite working hard, scoring very less.

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Joined: 22 Nov 2018
Posts: 2
Please support. Despite working hard, scoring very less.  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2018, 04:19
Hello GMAT Experts, please help me evaluate my GMAT Club Free CAT score (taken on 22nd November 2018),

1. Verbal = 19/51

2. Quants = 35/51

Total = 450/700

I would like to add here that I have never scored such a low score on GMAT.

To brief, I started my GMAT preparation on 15th October,2018. I took several mocks in a span of 2 weeks and delivered actual GMAT test on 2nd November,2018.
Following were my mock scores and final score:

1. GmatPrep 1: 570 (V21,Q47)
2. Manhattan Free Mock: 580 (V24, Q46)
3. Veritas Free Mock: 550 (V22, Q44)
4. Kaplan Free Mock: 550 (V22, Q44)
5. GmatPrep 2: 570 (V21, Q47)
6. Actual GMAT: 580 (V26, Q44)

I decided to retake GMAT exam and keep a target score of Q50 and V34, Total 700. I have booked exam on 12th December 2018. Since then, I have been solving questions from GMAT forum and practicing from various sources such as Veritas, Manhattan, PDFs, etc. I also took a mock on 15th November(GmatPrep 1, retake) and scored 600 (V29, Q43) This boosted my confidence and made me believe that in course of 7 mocks lined up before the final test, I can increase my scores in verbal and quants by 1 point in each mock, which will help me reach target of V34 Q50.

However, today I took a GmatClub free CAT and scored disastrously low, a 450.

I don't know how my scored dropped by 120 points in a week, despite gaining confidence on how to solve questions with accuracy.

Please suggest me on how should I proceed to reach a target of Q50 V34.

I would like to have your suggestions on few questions,
a. Should I consider it just a bad day and take into account factors such as lack of concentration, overconfidence, etc. which resulted in my score drop? However, if these are the reasons which resulted in poor performance, I consider them as a problem. How to overcome it?
b. Should I not take this GmatClub mock seriously ? reasoning that it is a very hard test. Should I be not concerned about the score and just re-do the questions and check where I made mistakes?

Based on self-analysis, I considered today's mock to be tough in a way that I couldn't even complete the paper. While solving verbal, I was doing questions slowly and could realize that they were 700 level questions, which naturally made me spent more time on them. Resulting, I could only solve 22 questions(70 percent accuracy) with genuine attempt, 7 more questions with very quick guess work and 5 questions unattempted. While solving Quants, I somewhere realized the same issue. This presented me with a new problem. If I am giving correct answers to 700-level questions, I am bound to get questions of higher difficulty. In such scenario, I take around 3-4 minutes to solve a question and thus will not be able to complete paper.

I would really appreciate if an expert can analyze my performance on which section (verbal or quant) I am weak at and what steps should I take to achieve my target score in a very short time (restating - my actual GMAT test is on 12th December)

Please support. Thanking y'all in anticipation.
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GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
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Re: Please support. Despite working hard, scoring very less.  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2018, 14:10
Hi pakshal,

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 various CAT score results - along with your Official GMAT Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 570 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes.

Many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so it's likely that you just have not put in enough time and effort yet. Based on what you have described, you've been studying for a little over 1 month - and it will have been just 2 months of study once you get to your next Official Test Date. Raising a 570 to a 700+ will likely require at least another 2-3 months of consistent, guided study though - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. However, you will likely need more time than you have allotted to get to the point that you are consistently scoring 700+.

In addition, 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 learn the necessary Tactics and put in the proper practice and repetitions. The CAT will show you whether your studies are helping you to improve or not. As such, you really shouldn't take more than 1 FULL CAT per week.

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:

1) What study materials have you used so far?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Re: Please support. Despite working hard, scoring very less.  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2018, 00:28
Hi pakshal,

Your scores suggest conceptual and process gaps. When you face more questions from areas of your strength you do well and vice versa. It is important that you build a strong foundation across the various sub-sections of GMAT to consistently score well. You must focus on identifying these weaknesses and improving upon them. You may follow the below steps to do so:

For your timing issues you may refer to this article on Timing Strategies.

Hope this helps! Please feel free to reach out to us in case of any further GMAT related query.

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Re: Please support. Despite working hard, scoring very less.  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Nov 2018, 20:23
Hi pakshal,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. So, your main issue is not that you scored low on your latest mock but that you are taking way too many practice tests before you are truly ready to do so. Remember 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 valuable tools for learning and continued score improvement? Yes, of course, 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). Two minutes per question can fly by, and if you want to finish the 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, taking a practice test is 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. 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 much. You must take care not to over-infer based on practice tests alone.

Rather than taking any further practice exams, you need to adjust your study plan so you can truly learn GMAT quant and verbal. Specifically, you need to follow a linear study plan that allows you to slowly build mastery of one GMAT topic prior to moving on to the next. Within each topic, begin with the foundations and progress toward more advanced concepts. That being said, I don’t think you will be able to substantially improve your GMAT skills in just 3 weeks. Are you able to take your GMAT at a later date?

Also, you may find it helpful to read this article about how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.

Scott Woodbury-Stewart

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Re: Please support. Despite working hard, scoring very less.   [#permalink] 26 Nov 2018, 20:23
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