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Variation in mocks and actual score, how to form a strategy?

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New post 04 Feb 2019, 03:38
Hi

I gave my GMAT last year (April 2018) and got a 610 (VA 27, QA 47). However, I was getting significantly higher in my mocks:

GMAT official 1 49 24 640
GMAT official 2 46 33 640
Manhattan 1 50 38 720
GMAT official 3 49 35 700
Kaplan 1 49 38 710
Veritas 48 37 690
Economist 51 38 710
Manhattan 2 48 36 690
Manhattan 3 49 39 720
Manhattan 4 45 37 680
GMAT official 5 49 37 710

Now, I prepared for 1 month (Jan 2019) and gave my first GMAT official prep mock test and got a 750 (Q51, V40).

I am skeptical if this is a true representation of my GMAT ability for the following reasons:

1. In QA, out of 31 questions, 5 questions I had seen before and got correct. (Q 2,7,15,30,31)
2. In VA, I got a complete RC of 4 questions incorrect. (Q 25,26,27,28) with an average accuracy of just 57% in RCs.

Needed some advice on how should I prepare from here on. I am targetting first week of March to retake GMAT.

Thanks in advance :)
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New post 04 Feb 2019, 07:15
advikcool wrote:
Hi

I gave my GMAT last year (April 2018) and got a 610 (VA 27, QA 47). However, I was getting significantly higher in my mocks:

GMAT official 1 49 24 640
GMAT official 2 46 33 640
Manhattan 1 50 38 720
GMAT official 3 49 35 700
Kaplan 1 49 38 710
Veritas 48 37 690
Economist 51 38 710
Manhattan 2 48 36 690
Manhattan 3 49 39 720
Manhattan 4 45 37 680
GMAT official 5 49 37 710

Now, I prepared for 1 month (Jan 2019) and gave my first GMAT official prep mock test and got a 750 (Q51, V40).

I am skeptical if this is a true representation of my GMAT ability for the following reasons:

1. In QA, out of 31 questions, 5 questions I had seen before and got correct. (Q 2,7,15,30,31)
2. In VA, I got a complete RC of 4 questions incorrect. (Q 25,26,27,28) with an average accuracy of just 57% in RCs.

Needed some advice on how should I prepare from here on. I am targetting first week of March to retake GMAT.

Thanks in advance :)


Hi, while doing mocks we are in a comfortable situation, do the test in our comfort time. whereas in a real test we will feel more anxiety. section order also will impact on our score. I suggest you select an easy section first in the real test. As per your mocks score, you seem to be strong in Verbal.
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New post 04 Feb 2019, 11:41
Hi advikcool

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. Since you took the GMAT 9-10 months ago, you might not remember all of the answers in detail, but If you can answer a few questions, then we should be able to figure this out:

When you took your CATs:
1) On what dates did you take each of your CATs and the Official GMAT?
2) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
3) Did you take them at home?
4) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
5) 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.)?
6) 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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New post 04 Feb 2019, 19:19
Hello advikcool ... welcome to the community.

Based on the information provided .... I believe you are in right track ..... solid basics in both Q & V. In case you are not familiar with this forum.... below is some links for the ones looking for an elite score in V.
https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-ninja-w ... 59122.html
https://gmatclub.com/forum/four-years-t ... 40262.html
https://gmatclub.com/forum/780-q50-v47- ... l#p1462711

Hope this helps!!
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New post 04 Feb 2019, 20:42
advikcool wrote:
Now, I prepared for 1 month (Jan 2019) and gave my first GMAT official prep mock test and got a 750 (Q51, V40).

I am skeptical if this is a true representation of my GMAT ability for the following reasons:

1. In QA, out of 31 questions, 5 questions I had seen before and got correct. (Q 2,7,15,30,31)
2. In VA, I got a complete RC of 4 questions incorrect. (Q 25,26,27,28) with an average accuracy of just 57% in RCs.

Needed some advice on how should I prepare from here on. I am targetting first week of March to retake GMAT.

Thanks in advance :)
That 750 may or may not be representative, but you shouldn't spend too much time thinking about it.

Because your practice test scores from last time show that you are capable of preparing well, I'd advise you to look into why your score dropped so much (from the high 30s to the high 20s in verbal). Also, I'd plan for two attempts this time around if I were you (just to reduce exam pressure).
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Re: Variation in mocks and actual score, how to form a strategy?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2019, 05:09
1
advikcool wrote:
Hi

I gave my GMAT last year (April 2018) and got a 610 (VA 27, QA 47). However, I was getting significantly higher in my mocks:

GMAT official 1 49 24 640
GMAT official 2 46 33 640
Manhattan 1 50 38 720
GMAT official 3 49 35 700
Kaplan 1 49 38 710
Veritas 48 37 690
Economist 51 38 710
Manhattan 2 48 36 690
Manhattan 3 49 39 720
Manhattan 4 45 37 680
GMAT official 5 49 37 710

Now, I prepared for 1 month (Jan 2019) and gave my first GMAT official prep mock test and got a 750 (Q51, V40).

I am skeptical if this is a true representation of my GMAT ability for the following reasons:

1. In QA, out of 31 questions, 5 questions I had seen before and got correct. (Q 2,7,15,30,31)
2. In VA, I got a complete RC of 4 questions incorrect. (Q 25,26,27,28) with an average accuracy of just 57% in RCs.

Needed some advice on how should I prepare from here on. I am targetting first week of March to retake GMAT.

Thanks in advance :)


Review everything and give special attention to verbal. Take some fresh practice tests (once in a week) to identify weaknesses. They may still not reflect your actual ability (as per GMAT) so don't worry too much about the score you get. Keep working on your weak areas.
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New post 06 Feb 2019, 05:27
VeritasKarishma wrote:
advikcool wrote:
Hi

I gave my GMAT last year (April 2018) and got a 610 (VA 27, QA 47). However, I was getting significantly higher in my mocks:

GMAT official 1 49 24 640
GMAT official 2 46 33 640
Manhattan 1 50 38 720
GMAT official 3 49 35 700
Kaplan 1 49 38 710
Veritas 48 37 690
Economist 51 38 710
Manhattan 2 48 36 690
Manhattan 3 49 39 720
Manhattan 4 45 37 680
GMAT official 5 49 37 710

Now, I prepared for 1 month (Jan 2019) and gave my first GMAT official prep mock test and got a 750 (Q51, V40).

I am skeptical if this is a true representation of my GMAT ability for the following reasons:

1. In QA, out of 31 questions, 5 questions I had seen before and got correct. (Q 2,7,15,30,31)
2. In VA, I got a complete RC of 4 questions incorrect. (Q 25,26,27,28) with an average accuracy of just 57% in RCs.

Needed some advice on how should I prepare from here on. I am targetting first week of March to retake GMAT.

Thanks in advance :)


Review everything and give special attention to verbal. Take some fresh practice tests (once in a week) to identify weaknesses. They may still not reflect your actual ability (as per GMAT) so don't worry too much about the score you get. Keep working on your weak areas.



Hi
Thanks for the reply.
Can you please suggest some good sources for fresh practice tests?

Thanks
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New post 07 Feb 2019, 11:53
You do bring up some valid points. I’d be curious to see how you do on a fresh MBA.com exam. Could you take another practice exam and report back with your score breakdown?
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New post 08 Feb 2019, 00:01
Hi, advikcool

Firstly, I want to say that many GMAT takers experience discrepancy in score between the actual and mock test. The reason is that scoring algorithm of the official test is a bit different from mock tests. However, one thing that I can make sure is that your Quant score is quite solid and you don't have to be worried about huge variation in quant. Official quant score could be lower than the mock one, but you can cover it by figuring out the weaknesses and solving them. As your quant score is relatively good, you’d better focus on reviewing certain topics, not everything. In your case, targeting Q50-51 would be a great goal for you to hit the highest score. Q51 requires another level of quant skill and also luck. The hardest DS questions determine a score of Q51. These questions are very time consuming and still hard to get them correct, if you solve them in conventional ways. In our course, these questions are so called "CMT 3,4 (common mistake type). You can solve these hard questions very quickly and easily. These questions are really time-consuming, but it is important not to be obsessed with these questions and give up all the other questions. Time management is also essential when solving these. Also, refer to this article featured in GMAT Club "How to Achieve Q51" : https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-ultimate ... 09801.html
However, the verbal score does matter right now. The variation in verbal is more huge than that in Quant, which means that your verbal is not that solid. I think you'd better spend more time in studying verbal.

Please let us know if you have further questions.
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New post 11 Feb 2019, 08:44
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
You do bring up some valid points. I’d be curious to see how you do on a fresh MBA exam. Could you take another practice exam and report back with your score breakdown?



Hi. Thanks for your reply. (Sorry using a different ID, wasn't able to post from that one somehow)

I took another official MBA mock. Got the following results

Score- 760 Q50, V41
3 questions in Quant, I had seen before- Got 5 incorrect out of 31
3 questions in VA and 1 passage of 3 questions (total 6), I had seen before but I didn't remember the answers.
SC- 9/12 , CR- 8/10, RC- 13/14

Please guide me how to proceed now.

Regards
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New post 11 Feb 2019, 19:46
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Hi Advik,

760 is a great score. That being said, I think we can both agree that the score must have been inflated based on seeing a few repeat quant and verbal questions. So, we are back to the original question of why your real GMAT score does not reflect your practice tests scores, right? One possible reason is that in your preparation, you did not really learn to do what you have to do in order to score high on the actual GMAT. Rather, you picked up on some patterns that were effective in getting you relatively high scores on practice tests. Thus, going into the exam, it’s quite possible that you had a number of quant and (especially) verbal weaknesses that were exposed, and thus you ended up with a Q47/V27.

Moving forward, I think the only option is to follow a structured and through study plan, so you can individually learn and practice each verbal and quant topic, ensuring that you fill in all knowledge gaps and methodically improve your GMAT quant and verbal skills. Let me expand on this idea further.

For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual Critical Reasoning topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each question type, do focused practice so 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. 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 easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to tackle such passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the Economist, 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, 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 under 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 those reasons are not 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 answer were always the one 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. It may take time for you to see what you have to see. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to be determined to see the differences 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 that resulted in your arriving at that answer and what you could do differently in order 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 have done 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 Sentence Correction skills improve, you will then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

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.

Now, regarding quant, you seem to be in much better shape. If you can improve to at least a Q50, you should be in a pretty good spot. Since you recently scored a Q47, you clearly don’t need to go back and learn the foundations of GMAT quant; however, you still should engage in a process of linear learning and focused practice to find and fix any gaps in your quant knowledge. For example, if you are reviewing Number Properties, be sure that you practice 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. 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. 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.

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 verbal and quant materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses.

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 further questions.
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New post 12 Feb 2019, 16:29
Very interesting. I have the opposite experience - I consistently get 540-590 on CAT exams using MPrep and my official GMAT score was 640 a day later. I wonder why the variation in the opposite direction?
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Re: Variation in mocks and actual score, how to form a strategy?   [#permalink] 12 Feb 2019, 16:29
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