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Still can't believe what just happened

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Still can't believe what just happened  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Nov 2019, 22:08
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Hi all,

I just finished my first GMAT exam (I scheduled 2 exams, the next one will be in the middle of December), and the score shocked me. I normally score 600ish (620-650 V28 Q48ish) when doing my mocks (from Veritas and GMAC). And I hope that I could do at least 580 on my real exam. Unfortunately, I only had 530 on my first GMAC test (V20 Q43). I canceled the score immediately.
I only have one chance to go, I cannot really miss it. It seems like I did the test too fast without checking carefully. But Verbal. I still can't believe it was that low. Any suggestions? I only have 2 weeks left and still have 2 GMAC tests to practice...
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Re: Still can't believe what just happened  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Nov 2019, 23:30
Hi. Sorry about your experience though since you have scheduled 2 tests, I guess you somewhat expected it?

I would look at your past practice tests and your error log if you kept one and identify areas that can be fixed the fastest. Often Quant and CR can be improved in just a week.

At the same time it seems you can improve both Q and V. I would identify what you can focus on and focus on that.

Since you only have 2 weeks you can consider signing up with empowergmat since it is on a monthly basis.

Thanks,
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Re: Still can't believe what just happened  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2019, 11:09
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Hi ngocnguyen2410,

I’m sorry to hear how things went with our GMAT. Although, I do not have much information regarding how you were studying (resources, duration, etc.) or your score goal, since you scored V20 on your actual GMAT, it’s clear that you need to learn GMAT verbal from the ground up. With that in mind, it may take longer than just 2 weeks to make a significant improvement, so you may consider pushing your GMAT to a later date. In any case, here is some more specific advice you can follow to improve your verbal skills. I’ll start with CR.

When studying Critical Reasoning, you need to ensure that you fully understand the essence of the various question types. Do you know the importance of an assumption within an argument? Can you easily spot a conclusion? Do you know how to resolve a paradox? Do you know how to properly evaluate cause and effect? Do you know how to properly weaken or strengthen an argument? These are just a few examples; you really need to take a deep dive into the individual Critical Reasoning topics to develop the necessary skills to properly attack any Critical Reasoning questions that you encounter.

As you learn each Critical Reasoning problem type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you incorrectly answered a Weaken the Argument question, 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 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 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 Reading Comprehension, 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 answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. You can perfect your reading strategy with a lot of practice, but keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be stimulating. So, to better prepare yourself to tackle such bland passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the New York Times, 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, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, the likely reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is that you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, to be successful in Sentence Correction, 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 less than 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 none of those reasons are 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 answers were always the ones 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. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to put in the necessary time to see the differences between answers 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 to arrive at that answer and what you could do differently 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 do 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’ll then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Good luck!
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Re: Still can't believe what just happened  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2019, 13:53
Maybe you need to brush-up your basics in Quant. This can improve the score. Verbal, SC improvement is the easiest, if you concentrate on the meaning.
Hope this helps.
All the best for the next test in 2 weeks.
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Re: Still can't believe what just happened  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2019, 19:43
Hi ngocnguyen2410,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not go as well as hoped. Since you're planning to retake the GMAT soon, you will need to be really efficient with this next phase of your studies (so that you can focus on 'fixing' the specific areas that you need to work on).

We last discussed your studies about 2 months ago, so I'd like to know a bit more about how you have been studying since then and your goals:

1) How many hours did you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs/mocks and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
4) What are the exact application deadlines that you are facing?

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Re: Still can't believe what just happened  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2019, 21:47
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi ngocnguyen2410,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not go as well as hoped. Since you're planning to retake the GMAT soon, you will need to be really efficient with this next phase of your studies (so that you can focus on 'fixing' the specific areas that you need to work on).

We last discussed your studies about 2 months ago, so I'd like to know a bit more about how you have been studying since then and your goals:

1) How many hours did you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs/mocks and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
4) What are the exact application deadlines that you are facing?

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




Hello, thank you for your reply
Actually the test yesterday was just a spontaneous one that I decided to take 1 day before that. I'm studying full time actually and putting lots of effort there. I have completed the OG and also the 300 advanced questions from there. I practice mostly with GMAT Prep from Veritas (I did 5 Cat's and each got around 580-620), and I just did 2 CAT's from GMAC, first one on 18/11 I got 650 (Q49 V31) and the lastest one was 26/11 I got 600 (Q45 V28). Since my target score is not +700, I just need more than 570, I decided to do the real test because I believe I can do so. But the result was shocking me much. I guess the time I took it was not ideal for me, since I'm not a morning person and I only slept 3 hours the night before. But still, the result was worst that it makes me feel pressure for the upcoming exam (the one that I scheduled 3 months ago).

The deadline will be on 3rd of January, so if I cannot make it next time, I gotta wait till next year...
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Re: Still can't believe what just happened  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2019, 14:54
Hi ngocnguyen2410,

With a Score Goal in the 580-600 range, you do NOT need to correctly answer ANY questions on the GMAT that you think are too hard or too weird - but you do have to keep the little mistakes to a minimum. As such, you should NOT be working on 'advanced' questions right now (and you should ultimately look to dump them on Test Day).

1) When is your exact next Test Date?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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New post 29 Nov 2019, 21:16
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi ngocnguyen2410,

With a Score Goal in the 580-600 range, you do NOT need to correctly answer ANY questions on the GMAT that you think are too hard or too weird - but you do have to keep the little mistakes to a minimum. As such, you should NOT be working on 'advanced' questions right now (and you should ultimately look to dump them on Test Day).

1) When is your exact next Test Date?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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



Hi,
Thank you so much for your reply
As I understand from the previous experience with the real gmat exam, I was struggling with Verbal mostly, it's probably I did the test too fast without checking or made sure the answer correctly (with no dump mistakes). Because normally when I did mock, I usually got 28ish on Verbal. Another reason comes from the fact that I did many wrong answers in the first 10 questions as well as many on CR. I never thought CR is my weakness until I did the exam. It's quite confusing that I have to cross it without making sure it's right. Since the did the exam too fast, I had almost 15mins left at the end of the exam.

So, do you have any recommendations on improving CR, I understand the types of questions and how to do it, but to make it right, it's harder than I thought. And also strategies on the real exam? Like how long that I should spend on the first 10 questions?
1) My exam date will be on 17th of December. So 2 weeks from now.
2) I can study 8 hours each day. Atm, I try to do as many CAT as possible and try to see the problems I have had.

Thank youuuuu!
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Re: Still can't believe what just happened  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2019, 14:37
Hi ngocnguyen2410,

With a V20, you would have lost significant points on ALL 3 major Verbal categories (RC, SC and CR), so the idea that you need to work on just CR is questionable. Your Q43 means that you were good on most of the 'math questions' that you faced in the Quant section, but you made a number of little mistakes as you worked through the section AND you missed out on LOTS of 'strategy-based' questions. The Quant section of the GMAT is NOT a 'math test' - it's a 'critical thinking test' that requires lots of little calculations as you work through it. To score at a much higher level in this section, you need to become more of a 'strategist' and less of a 'mathematician.'

Thankfully, you're closer to a 580+ than you probably realize. Based on the short timeframe though, you don't have time to properly improve in all areas (so you should focus on a couple of big-point areas). You might be able to correct these issues on your own, but if you're looking for some new practice materials, then I can offer some suggestions.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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Re: Still can't believe what just happened   [#permalink] 30 Nov 2019, 14:37
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