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Range in CAT scores and test day -- advice for retake strategy?

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Range in CAT scores and test day -- advice for retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2018, 13:02
Hi all,

I'm just back from a disappointing test day. After 3 months of 2+ hours study a day, I only scored a 630 (Q36 V40). This is pretty different from what I've seen in my CATs, so I'm not sure how best to address my retake strategy.

My other CAT scores were:
June 30 - Economist GMAT Prep CAT: 590 (Q35 V38)
July 28 - Economist GMAT Prep CAT: 590 (Q38 V35)
August 3 - Official GMAT Prep CAT: 720 (Q44 V45)
August 11 - Economist GMAT Prep Exam 1: 560 (Q42 V27)
August 17 - Official GMAT Prep Exam 2: 710 (Q44 V42)
August 24 - Official GMAT Prep Exam 3: 700 (Q42 V42)
August 31 - Official GMAT Prep Exams 4: 750 (Q46 V48)

I mainly studied with the Economist GMAT prep course, and supplemented with the OG materials.

I'd sort of written off my score on the Economist tests, after I had 4 official tests at 700+, but now I'm not sure how to evaluate where I stand. I'd like to get to at least a 680, and apply in round 2, but I realize that that may not be possible at this point. I'd greatly welcome any insight as to what steps i should take to improve my score!

Thanks,
H
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Range in CAT scores and test day -- advice for retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2018, 14:26
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Thats indeed disappointing. How was your exam experience- anything specific that you can recall that caused you to get distracted or anything different on the exam which you didn’t encounter during your official mocks. Also, did you encounter any repeat questions in your official mocks. These questions can help you figure out why you were not able to perform as well as you did on mocks. Both your verbal and quant scores dipped a lot compared to your mocks but quant specially. Do you think the official exam quant was tougher than the gmatprep mocks that you took before.

In any case first order the ESR to see where exactly you need to focus and also spend more time on quant as your verbal score is still much better than your quant score.



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Re: Range in CAT scores and test day -- advice for retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2018, 14:45
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The official prep test are the best indicator concerning your readiness for the real thing.

Dont let the other tests get your confidence down. :)
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A couple of things that helped me in verbal:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-strategies-268700.html#p2082192

Gmat Prep CAT #1: V42, Q34, 630
Gmat Prep CAT #2: V46, Q35, 660
Gmat Prep CAT #3: V41, Q42, 680

On the mission to improve my quant score, all help is appreciated! :)

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Re: Range in CAT scores and test day -- advice for retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2018, 19:36
hd0702 wrote:
Hi all,

I'm just back from a disappointing test day. After 3 months of 2+ hours study a day, I only scored a 630 (Q36 V40). This is pretty different from what I've seen in my CATs, so I'm not sure how best to address my retake strategy.

My other CAT scores were:
June 30 - Economist GMAT Prep CAT: 590 (Q35 V38)
July 28 - Economist GMAT Prep CAT: 590 (Q38 V35)
August 3 - Official GMAT Prep CAT: 720 (Q44 V45)
August 11 - Economist GMAT Prep Exam 1: 560 (Q42 V27)
August 17 - Official GMAT Prep Exam 2: 710 (Q44 V42)
August 24 - Official GMAT Prep Exam 3: 700 (Q42 V42)
August 31 - Official GMAT Prep Exams 4: 750 (Q46 V48)

I mainly studied with the Economist GMAT prep course, and supplemented with the OG materials.

I'd sort of written off my score on the Economist tests, after I had 4 official tests at 700+, but now I'm not sure how to evaluate where I stand. I'd like to get to at least a 680, and apply in round 2, but I realize that that may not be possible at this point. I'd greatly welcome any insight as to what steps i should take to improve my score!

Thanks,
H


As is apparent from your score, your Quant did not work out on test day. Were you under too much stress during the test? Anything to do with the order in which you took the sections? Did you miss out on too may questions due to anxiety right in the beginning?
In such cases, it is a good idea to get the ESR to find out what went wrong. Though the information given is limited, at least it is a start. Plug in the gaps and then retake.
You Verbal score is in line with what you scored on verbal in the official prep tests so you don't need to worry too much about it. You will need to work hard on Quant to get a more balanced score. Though you might be able to bump up your score substantially by doing exceptionally well in Verbal but balanced score is more valuable than just a high score.

By the way, a 50-100 point increase is easily possible. Check out our blog for tips and suggestions: https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/category/gmat/
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Re: Range in CAT scores and test day -- advice for retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2018, 20:50
1
hd0702 wrote:
Hi all,

I'm just back from a disappointing test day. After 3 months of 2+ hours study a day, I only scored a 630 (Q36 V40). This is pretty different from what I've seen in my CATs, so I'm not sure how best to address my retake strategy.

My other CAT scores were:
June 30 - Economist GMAT Prep CAT: 590 (Q35 V38)
July 28 - Economist GMAT Prep CAT: 590 (Q38 V35)
August 3 - Official GMAT Prep CAT: 720 (Q44 V45)
August 11 - Economist GMAT Prep Exam 1: 560 (Q42 V27)
August 17 - Official GMAT Prep Exam 2: 710 (Q44 V42)
August 24 - Official GMAT Prep Exam 3: 700 (Q42 V42)
August 31 - Official GMAT Prep Exams 4: 750 (Q46 V48)

I mainly studied with the Economist GMAT prep course, and supplemented with the OG materials.

I'd sort of written off my score on the Economist tests, after I had 4 official tests at 700+, but now I'm not sure how to evaluate where I stand. I'd like to get to at least a 680, and apply in round 2, but I realize that that may not be possible at this point. I'd greatly welcome any insight as to what steps i should take to improve my score!

Thanks,
H
Q36 is indeed a big drop from Q42-46, and even V40 is outside the V42-48 range you were in (V45 and V48 are 99 and 99+ scores). Normally, I'd say this was just a bad day for you, but your GMATPrep quant scores indicate that there are still some weaknesses as far as your concepts are concerned. If I were you, I'd work on my quant a bit more before taking the test again. And this is not for the score target you've mentioned. You can do much better than a 680.

With verbal, you're at a point where it is seems that even on a bad day you're likely to get a score that most people would love to get. Just do something similar (though to a lesser extent) with quant. Go over the basic concepts, especially the ones that you're not comfortable with. Definitely get the last two GMATPreps.
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Re: Range in CAT scores and test day -- advice for retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2018, 21:44
Hi hd0702,

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 plan to take 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 (re: on a prior CAT, in an online forum or in a practice set)?

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Re: Range in CAT scores and test day -- advice for retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2018, 22:58
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Hi hd0702,
I am sorry your scores were not in line with your expectations. Your scores in mock tests and the actual GMAT suggest that Verbal is your stronger section compared to Quant. For scoring a 680 you can aim for Q44 V40 or Q42 V43. You can also set your own target scores using GMAT Planner.

It is very clear that bulk of your improvement needs to come from Quant and that’s where you should be spending more of your time. Here are success stories of some students who were in a similar situation as you at one point and then went on to achieve their target score:
    • Carrie improved from a Q35 (26 percentile) to a Q50 (85 percentile) in 3 weeks. Click here to watch her amazing video interview.
    • Guillermo improved from a Q38 (36 percentile) to Q50 (85 percentile. Click here to watch his interview. Click here to read his amazing GMAT Club debrief.

I invite you to try the e-GMAT Free Trial for Quant to evaluate if it suits your learning style. I am sharing some direct links below. You can get access to more of these from your free trial course dashboard.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
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Re: Range in CAT scores and test day -- advice for retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2018, 07:03
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It looks like your verbal is pretty strong at V40 - but you could use improvement in the quant area.

With quant - there are certain types of problems that repeat over and over. You'll want to get a feel for positive vs negative exponents, numberline properties, common geometric ratios like 30/60/90 triangles, divisibility checks, rate problems, and on the more advanced side, mixture/permutation problems.

The best approach we recommend is to understand some of these core problems -- and do slight variations off of that core problem. For example, you might have rates question with two trains moving towards each other -- what if they move away from each other? What if one goes north and the other goes east? What if they start at different times?

Once you are able to master these variations - the next time you see a variation, you'll know what to expect and be that much more prepared to deal with it.

This is the approach we take at GMAT Pill -- to teach core frameworks and do exercises off of the variations.

We encourage you to learn more about us at http://www.gmatpill.com/testimonials

In the meantime, practice with some quant questions free at:

http://www.gmatpill.com/gmat-practice-t ... -questions
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Re: Range in CAT scores and test day -- advice for retake strategy?  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2018, 12:06
Hi hd0702,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. So, although you are disappointed, 630 overall is not a bad starting point. That being said, since you score a Q42 on your August 24 practice exam and a Q36 on your real GMAT, it’s clear that you have quant weaknesses that must be addressed prior to taking your next GMAT.

To improve your quant score, you have to go through GMAT quant carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills. 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 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 and types that you would rather not see, and types of questions 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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