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The exam comes closer and shocking weak CAT results

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The exam comes closer and shocking weak CAT results  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2019, 09:37
Hello everybody,

as the title suggests, I'm a little perplexed about my test results right now. Basically, I was pretty optimistic that I could do a good GMAT because I'm good at quant tasks in general. However, I have now finished two CATs in the last days after 2 month progress and did them poorly with 430 and 460. My actual goal is over 650..

I actually know that verbal is my weak spot, however, in quant questions I did many silly mistakes and sometimes, if I am confronted with new tasks, I am struggling with the solution approach. I have already calculated the majority of MGMAT's strategy guides and the OG questions of 2020 and logged my mistakes accordingly, but I don't feel confirmed that I know the essential task types and further that I have the right learning strategy:

Should I fight my way through the OG questions countless times until I can solve each one in my sleep or would I rather take a different approach?

My exam comes closer (09.12.2019) and I'm wondering if I should re-schedule it. If so, how I can get on the right and efficient track? I am aware that this forum contains so many stories about strategies, but I am sinking into this oversupply. In my opinion, I lack the red thread in my learning process.

I am looking forward to your advise and wish a pleasant evening.

Best, Jonas
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Re: The exam comes closer and shocking weak CAT results  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2019, 09:55
FraMz wrote:
Hello everybody,

as the title suggests, I'm a little perplexed about my test results right now. Basically, I was pretty optimistic that I could do a good GMAT because I'm good at quant tasks in general. However, I have now finished two CATs in the last days after 2 month progress and did them poorly with 430 and 460. My actual goal is over 650..

I actually know that verbal is my weak spot, however, in quant questions I did many silly mistakes and sometimes, if I am confronted with new tasks, I am struggling with the solution approach. I have already calculated the majority of MGMAT's strategy guides and the OG questions of 2020 and logged my mistakes accordingly, but I don't feel confirmed that I know the essential task types and further that I have the right learning strategy:

Should I fight my way through the OG questions countless times until I can solve each one in my sleep or would I rather take a different approach?

My exam comes closer (09.12.2019) and I'm wondering if I should re-schedule it. If so, how I can get on the right and efficient track? I am aware that this forum contains so many stories about strategies, but I am sinking into this oversupply. In my opinion, I lack the red thread in my learning process.

I am looking forward to your advise and wish a pleasant evening.

Best, Jonas

Hi,
Welcome to Gmatclub. I can understand your situation. Your score reflects that you need to improve your basic concepts in both sections. Silly mistakes must be avoided to get your target score. You need to polish your concepts once again and practice daily to an extent where you remember the concepts and how to apply them. You need to change learning strategy and you do not have to solve the OG questions repeatedly. My suggestions:
1. Take off a day or two. Relax your mind
2. Look what material you have used and unused
3. Go through all the basic quant and verbal fundamentals once again couple of time thoroughly and calmly
4. Practice questions after you learn some comecpts. Don't over do. Review daily.
5. Take a free mock and review what you have done

We can discuss again after the results :)
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New post 02 Nov 2019, 11:06
Thanks for your quite fast reply.
Would you suggest to reschedule the exam?

sjas31 wrote:
FraMz wrote:
Hello everybody,

as the title suggests, I'm a little perplexed about my test results right now. Basically, I was pretty optimistic that I could do a good GMAT because I'm good at quant tasks in general. However, I have now finished two CATs in the last days after 2 month progress and did them poorly with 430 and 460. My actual goal is over 650..

I actually know that verbal is my weak spot, however, in quant questions I did many silly mistakes and sometimes, if I am confronted with new tasks, I am struggling with the solution approach. I have already calculated the majority of MGMAT's strategy guides and the OG questions of 2020 and logged my mistakes accordingly, but I don't feel confirmed that I know the essential task types and further that I have the right learning strategy:

Should I fight my way through the OG questions countless times until I can solve each one in my sleep or would I rather take a different approach?

My exam comes closer (09.12.2019) and I'm wondering if I should re-schedule it. If so, how I can get on the right and efficient track? I am aware that this forum contains so many stories about strategies, but I am sinking into this oversupply. In my opinion, I lack the red thread in my learning process.

I am looking forward to your advise and wish a pleasant evening.

Best, Jonas

Hi,
Welcome to Gmatclub. I can understand your situation. Your score reflects that you need to improve your basic concepts in both sections. Silly mistakes must be avoided to get your target score. You need to polish your concepts once again and practice daily to an extent where you remember the concepts and how to apply them. You need to change learning strategy and you do not have to solve the OG questions repeatedly. My suggestions:
1. Take off a day or two. Relax your mind
2. Look what material you have used and unused
3. Go through all the basic quant and verbal fundamentals once again couple of time thoroughly and calmly
4. Practice questions after you learn some comecpts. Don't over do. Review daily.
5. Take a free mock and review what you have done

We can discuss again after the results :)
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Status: Preparing for GMAT
Joined: 16 Dec 2018
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Re: The exam comes closer and shocking weak CAT results  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2019, 11:27
I think, you need to reschedule it or wait for some time to see your progress. If you do now or later, the charge is going to be there. The only challenge will be the availability of slots as per your choice.

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Re: The exam comes closer and shocking weak CAT results  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2019, 14:12
Hi Jonas,

To start, each 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.

From what you describe, you've worked through lots of practice questions, but it's not clear HOW you were working through them. It's possible that "your way" of approaching the Exam is inefficient (and/or leaves you open to making the little mistakes that you described). Raising a mid-400s score to the point that you can consistently score 650+ will likely require at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study - 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. As such, you might want to consider pushing back your Test Date.

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:

Studies:
1) How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) Have you used any other study materials besides the books that you listed?
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)?

Goals:
4) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
5) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 02 Nov 2019, 14:56
Dear Rich,

thanks for your time and nice to meet you. I will try to answer your questions:

I am able to learn 3-4h per day in the evening and the whole weekends. I used the last two months to familiarize myself with the GMAT in general (test setup, content) and worked through the OG books incl. reviews as well as the MGMAT strategy guides. However, I am not yet at the point that I have mastered all foundations blindly. Are other materials helpful? If so, which ones? Unfortunately, a course is not financially viable at the moment.

My results: I'm a little surprised at the deterioration despite preparation?

1. MGMAT CAT without any prep 510 (Q37 / V21) - 2 months ago - 1 rush
2. CAT Official 460 (Q33 / V21) - today

Goals: I want to start an international Master program in Europe as of August 2020. The university depends on the corresponding score, but I definitely wanted to apply in Stockholm and had set the GMAT for the 09.12. because the application window already closes in January. Alternatively I would apply at CBS, Nova in Lisboa, Bocconi, ESADE or Maastricht. So I took the target of a 650.

Best Jonas

EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Jonas,

To start, each 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.

From what you describe, you've worked through lots of practice questions, but it's not clear HOW you were working through them. It's possible that "your way" of approaching the Exam is inefficient (and/or leaves you open to making the little mistakes that you described). Raising a mid-400s score to the point that you can consistently score 650+ will likely require at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study - 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. As such, you might want to consider pushing back your Test Date.

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:

Studies:
1) How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) Have you used any other study materials besides the books that you listed?
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)?

Goals:
4) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
5) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 04 Nov 2019, 10:02
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Hi Jonas,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Since your recent practice test scores are 430 and 460, you need to follow a study plan that allows you to learn GMAT quant and verbal from the ground up. In other words, follow a study plan that allows you to learn each GMAT quant and verbal topic individually and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. Regarding your timeline, you likely need more than just one more month of prep. So, I would continue to study and take your GMAT once you are truly ready to do so. Here is some more detailed advice you can follow to improve your quant and verbal skills.

If you are learning about Number Properties, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

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 do such 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.
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, types that you would rather not see, and types 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.

Follow a similar routine for verbal. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken The Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each question type, do focused practice, so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, 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 instead 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 thereby 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 Reading Comprehension answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. Keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to analyze such 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.

Regarding what you know, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not really a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning the 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 logical meanings. 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 until you start to see the differences 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 take the 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 will want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some new quant and verbal materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses. You also may find it helpful to read the following article about The Phases of Preparing for the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions. Good luck!
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New post 04 Nov 2019, 12:16
Hello Scott,

thanks for your reply - you deserve more than 1 kudos.

I rescheduled the GMAT test from the 09.11.2019 to the 09.03.2020 - so I won time to dive in your described phase 5. Unfortunately, I will write my TOEFL test on the 4th January - this date is set and I am willing to pass this test successful. In parallel, I will refresh my knowledge on a daily basis. Do you think the 10 weeks after the TOEFL are enough to come closer to my set target?

Best from Germany,
Jonas
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Re: The exam comes closer and shocking weak CAT results  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2019, 18:26
FraMz wrote:
Hello Scott,

thanks for your reply - you deserve more than 1 kudos.

I rescheduled the GMAT test from the 09.11.2019 to the 09.03.2020 - so I won time to dive in your described phase 5. Unfortunately, I will write my TOEFL test on the 4th January - this date is set and I am willing to pass this test successful. In parallel, I will refresh my knowledge on a daily basis. Do you think the 10 weeks after the TOEFL are enough to come closer to my set target?

Best from Germany,
Jonas


Hi Jonas,

10 weeks may be pretty tight but if you work hard you should be able to improve your GMAT score. Once you dive back into your prep, full force, feel free to reach back out, and I can provide some further advice.
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Scott@TargetTestPrep.com
TTP - Target Test Prep Logo
197 Reviews

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self study course

See why Target Test Prep is the top rated GMAT quant course on GMAT Club. Read Our Reviews

If you find one of my posts helpful, please take a moment to click on the "Kudos" button.

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Re: The exam comes closer and shocking weak CAT results   [#permalink] 05 Nov 2019, 18:26
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