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Scored only 410 after studying for so long :(

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Scored only 410 after studying for so long :(  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2016, 09:38
Hello,

Hope this message finds you well. I am a silent member of the GMATCLUB and this is the first post/message. I have been studying for GMAT since September 2015 (2.5 hrs weekdays and 6-8 hrs weekends) but my practice and actual GMAT results are terrible. I have no choice but to score high on GMAT (High school Valedictorian, Struggled in College due to some issues , still managed to pull 3.3 CGPA. I need a decent GMAT due to not so good GPA). I am aiming for 650 [nothing crazy i guess]

On practice MGMAT CAT I cant seem to improve from [530(Q36-V26)-540[Q37-V26)] range. Took the first one, practiced MGMAT Quant Guide twice and did some verbal from OG for a month and then took the other one. I scored similar in my GMATPREP Exam 1. On my actual GMAT exam I failed terribly and scored 410 with [Q9, forgot how much I scored in V but I think it was close to mid 20's - not sure though].
I am desperate to score high but I am burnt. I go back to studying everyday after work mainly because of the desire to score higher but I get fed up much quicker now and my brain just stops absorbing more information now. I am working 9am-6pm (not too much stress at work) and studying GMAT 8:30pm-11:00pm

The other thing I noticed is when I spend 2 mins on SC questions and around 2.5 mins on CR question my accuracy jumps remarkably. Same thing with Quant MGMAT Questions, I take 4 mins but end up with the right answer most of the time. On OG Quant question, I can do easy question in under 2 mins but on medium and hard difficulty question I take 3 to 4 mins to get it right.

I also dont know what happened to me in the actual exam. But two things I can say for sure that I realized during the exam, 1. I had previously seen and practiced concepts and question similar to the ones I was getting tested on...I would look at the question and immediately say "Oh! this is that question..they jut changed the situation bla bla..", 2. I noted I was struggling with recalling basic concepts like "Even*Even=Even". 3. I was drained by the time I reached half of verbal portion.

Note: This was my first computer based test I ever took. Never took TOEFL/IELTS or SAT whatsoever. Took 2 MGMAT CAT (1 month gap between them) and 1 GMAT PREP CAT. I was freaking out earlier but when I noted that I am actually doing good in verbal if I spend more time on the question, I feel a bit relaxed as the basics are not the issue. Please advice. I am aiming to retake(second attempt) in 1st weekend of march and also planning to take 1 week off from work during mid February to grind and grind all the OG questions again.

I used the following materials:
Quant:
Magoosh: for Basic Foundation
MGMAT Guides: Practiced Twice
OG16: Once, skipped very easy questions

Verbal:
SC: Started using MGMAT after the exam. I only practiced from OG Verbal prior to the exam. I think I have strong basic foundation in this area and the issue is with timing
CR: Official Guide and OG Verbal - Except for Bold Face, I am good with most question if I can have 3 mins to solve the question. I realized I go into panic mode If I have to do it under a certain time limit lower than my average time.
RC: Official Guide and OG Verbal - Did a few OG questions prior to the exam

Any constructive input is highly appreciated.

Thanks
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Re: Scored only 410 after studying for so long :(  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2016, 10:06
HI CreditRevolver,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as planned. The information that you've provided points out some of the flaws in how you studied, but I have a number of questions that I'm hoping that you can provide additional information on.

To start, if your goal score is 650, but you never scored above 540 in your CATs, then it doesn't make sense that you would take the GMAT now. How did you think that you were going to score? Did you assume that you were just going to take the GMAT again?

Second, if you were studying consistently for 4-5 months, then taking just 3 CATs was not nearly enough. The GMAT is a specific 'event' that you can train for, but since you were studying out of books, these 3 CATs were your only experiences that mimicked the physical aspect of what you would have to face on Test Day - and 3 CATs is NOT nearly enough for that timeframe (or your goal).

When you took your CATs:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT (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 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.)?

On Test Day, did you have trouble finishing any of the sections on time? Did you have to rush to finish any of the sections (and guess on a bunch of questions - and if so, then how many question?)?

Thankfully, the GMAT is still the same consistent, predictable Test that it's always been, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. Given this Official Score, and your score goal, you'll likely need another 2-3 months of consistent, guided study. You will also likely need to invest in some new, non-book resources.

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Re: Scored only 410 after studying for so long :(  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2016, 11:32
Thank you for your response.

So one of the reasons I didn't postponed my exam was mainly to familiarize myself with adaptive exams and computer based exams in general. As I stated in my post, I never took any computer based exam and I wanted to experience it in order to prepare myself. The other reason was that my sister took the real GMAT cold two years after she graduated college and scored 550 and endded up with 740 after 2 months of study. She told me she took the real exam to capture the exam experience and her behavior in her mind and use that to prepare herself :) I tried that and failed badly.

1) I did Quant and Verbal only in my first MGMAT CAT. I took all parts in my second MGMAT CAT and GMAT PREP CAT attempt.
2) I took all 3 attempts in my bedroom
3) I took all 3 practice exams after work.. around 8pm. My actual exam was at 4pm.
4) On my practice exams I only took the allowed number of breaks and went out to smoke and then came back on time. On the actual exam I took the allowed number of breaks ate a protein bar and drank 5 hr energy drink

Essay: I completed the essay with 5 mins in my hand because I re read the questions a few times and was able to catch 2 major flaws right away.
IR: I struggled a bit on the IR and had to guess a lot. I realized soon this isnt as important as Quant and Verbal so I guessed on most of them. I attempted 6 and I am pretty sure I only had gotten 4 correct... I guessed left and right on the rest 6.
Quant: first 2 3 questions went alright and then I got couple of DS questions straight in a row so I got a little nervous. I know my 18th or 19th question was testing a hard yet very similar concept I came across on the OG but for some reason I wasnt able to recall it clearly. I spend 7 mins on that question and finally got it right. But then everything onward from that question went downhill.
Verbal: I was pretty tired mentality and a little angry with myself for why I spent 7 mins on that quant question. I tried to remain calm and gave my best.

Hope I answered your questions.
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Re: Scored only 410 after studying for so long :(  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2016, 14:20
did you end up finishing every question on either section? if you spent 7 minutes on one Q problem I can't imagine you had enough time to finish the exam. not finishing questions is WAY worse than getting them wrong. if you're at more than 3 minutes on a question, you should guess as best you can and move on. timing is more important than getting it right once you get to that point.
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Re: Scored only 410 after studying for so long :(  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2016, 14:32
Hi CreditRevolver,

Test Day is a rather specific 'event' - the details are specific and they matter, so you have to train as best as you can for all of them. The more realistic you can make your CATs, the more likely the score results are to be accurate. The more you deviate, the more "inflated" your scores can become - and that's what happened here. By skipping sections, taking the CATs at home, taking them at a different time of day, etc., you weren't properly training for the FULL GMAT 'experience.' Those issues are relatively easy to fix - you just have to plan a bit better about how you'll take your future CATs.

The broader pacing issues are significant, but they don't exist on their own - pacing problems are the result of OTHER problems. As you continue to study, your emphasis needs to be on learning/practicing Tactics so that you can answer questions accurately (and FASTER). Investing in a GMAT Course of some type (either Guided Self-Study or instructor-led) would likely help you a great deal.

When I asked earlier about whether you had trouble finishing sections or not, here's what I'd like to know specifically:
1) Did you leave any questions UNANSWERED in any section? If you did, then how many?
2) Did you have to rush through questions at the end of a section just to finish them all? If you did, then how many?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

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Re: Scored only 410 after studying for so long :( &nbs [#permalink] 25 Jan 2016, 14:32
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Scored only 410 after studying for so long :(

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