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Test Day Did Not Go Well

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Test Day Did Not Go Well [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2017, 22:19
Hi all!

Just going to dive right into it, today I scored a 510 (Q29, V31) on my first official GMAT. This comes after about 6 months of studying and shooting for a goal score of around 650, and I am pretty demoralized by this score I received today. I shall break down what I have done so far, and some insight into why I think I got this score, and if anyone has advice going forward I would gladly appreciate it.

Magoosh 3 Month Study Schedule for Beginners
-Using OG17
-Premium subscription
Nailed down a lot of the basics. Never took a practice exam until the very end of the self paced course, and I received a 560 with GMATPrep- I don't remember the breakdown but I know that my verbal was much higher than my quant score. I knew I needed some great quant material so I bought the manhattan 1 through 5 quant books. These books took me to the next level and I felt confident in my math skills.

I studied the 5 books over about 2.5 months completed all of the OG problems while following along with the books. I took two full MGMAT Practice Exams while studying through the books. I also worked through the after exam breakdowns and had an error log for these.
MGMAT 1 (10/1/17)- 630 (Q40, V36) (with pauses because the quant had me in fits)
MGMAT 2- (10/16/17)- 640 (Q41, V36) (without pauses)

The last two weeks before my exam were spent going over weak topics with OG questions and the Manhattan Quant books, while brushing up on my verbal since I did not touch it for quite some time. I took a GMATPrep exam 7 days before without pauses in a library for full test like atmosphere and received a 650 (Q42, V38). Feeling confident.

Day of the test- Up to this point, I had thought about this test every day for the past 6 months. I had built it up to be more than just a test, I put it on a pedestal. I was nervous, and felt a fair amount of pressure. I chose to do quant first, and when it began I felt almost cloudy headed- I was seeing the questions but like I wasn't diving into them. I was getting easy questions (never a good sign in quant), and they just kept coming. Something was off and I felt it- but hey at least I never fell behind on timing (lol). It also felt like I received 80% DS questions, and hardly any PS questions. Moving on to the verbal section after my break I was torn up about my quant that I did poorly on the verbal- usually my strong point. When I clicked submit score I did not feel confident and the score showed for it.

Feeling just a little lost after receiving this score. I know that my goal of 650 is very much within reach (I did it just a week before!) and I feel like I did not perform my best on test day. I realize now that I really only did 4 practice tests in full before the real thing so maybe that is a factor. Also the not-so-calm head didn't help.

Any advice on what is next? More practice tests? Anything is greatly appreciated!

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Re: Test Day Did Not Go Well [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2017, 21:09
Hi WilliamCubed,

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 took 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: in an online forum or in a practice set)?

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Re: Test Day Did Not Go Well [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2017, 22:45
Hey Rich thanks for your reply. I'd be happy to answer your questions.

1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
-First GMATPrep exam after the Magoosh study schedule I did the entire test. The next two MGMAT exams were done with only quant and verbal, not with IR and essay. I thought this would represent my score well since you can now choose your order and I chose to take quant and verbal first, and the quant/verbal make up your total score. The final GMATPrep a week before the test was done in full.
2) Did you take them at home?
Both GMATPrep tests were taken in a library with private cubes exactly like the ones used in the testing center. The two MGMAT exams were taken at home on my desk with earplugs in.
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
Unfortunately, now that I think about it, every time I took a CAT I took them at different times. Ranging from 8 am, all the way to 7 pm start time after work. I do not believe I ever took at CAT at 2 pm (the time of my official exam).
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.)?
The first MGMAT exam I did pause during the quant and did not take the IR and essay at the end, and the second MGMAT exam was paused once in the middle of verbal because my dog was at the door needing to go outside and did not take the IR/essay. The two GMATPrep courses were taken in full, all sections, and I made sure to time my break during the second and final GMATPrep exam.
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE (re: in an online forum or in a practice set)?
I never took one CAT twice, and for the most part, every question was new. During the 2nd GMATPrep, I did mark 2 questions that I had seen before, and 2 verbal questions that I had seen, but those were the only ones I truly recognized.

As a side note I also want to mention that I got a 6 on the official IR section and haven't gotten my awa back just yet but it felt great. I want to believe this has a lot to do with how much pressure I had on myself mentally- by the end of the test I felt a lot more "into it" I guess is one way to put it. But again, these are just feelings haha.

Anything else? I appreciate you helping me out!

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Re: Test Day Did Not Go Well [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2017, 12:07
Sometimes bad days just happen! I don't see any major red flags in your description of how you took the practice tests. Particularly, what stands out to me is that you consistently scored over 600 on practice tests. If you had only scored 600+ once, I'd tell you that your GMAT ability might not be where it needs to be yet. But, since you've done it a number of times, that makes it more likely that your actual test was the exception.

It sounds like you had a bad case of nerves, and that's the most likely culprit. For those of us who tend to be 'over-thinkers,' missing one or two GMAT problems on an important test day can lead to a downward spiral in performance - you start to worry about whether you're doing poorly, which distracts you and keeps you from recovering from the few bad problems, etc. Taking the test again will probably improve your score, since you'll know more about what to expect and you'll be more comfortable in the test environment. Taking more practice tests between now and then will likely also help. I'd also recommend these basic anxiety-reduction tips - they're from a GRE article, but everything here applies to the GMAT equally: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/blog/ ... g-the-gre/
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Re: Test Day Did Not Go Well [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2017, 20:20
Hi WilliamCubed,

From your prior post, there were a few 'red flags' in terms of how you took your CATs. Before we discuss those details though, I have a few additional questions about the lead-up to Test Day and Test Day itself:

1) What did you do in the 3 days before your GMAT?
2) How did you sleep the night before your Test?
3) How long was the ride to the Test Center from your home?
4) Were there any distractions at the facility or during the Test?
5) What did you do during the two 8-minute breaks?
6) Did you finish any sections early?
7) Did you have to rush to finish any sections (and guess on questions just to finish on time)?

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

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

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Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
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www.empowergmat.com/

***********************Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!***********************

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Re: Test Day Did Not Go Well   [#permalink] 08 Nov 2017, 20:20
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