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What to do about inconsistent practice GMAT scores?

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New post 04 Mar 2012, 09:52
I am a week away from my test and I'm still not sure if i'm ready or if I should push back my test date because of my inconsistent test scores.

I have taken MGMAT, Veritas, 800 Score, and GMAT Prep mock exams and these are my following scores:

GMAT Prep Q37 V36 610
GMAT Simulator Set 1 Q38 V35 600
GMAT Simulator Set 1 Q33 V35 570
GMAT Simulator Set 1 Q33 V30 540
GMAT Simulator Set 1 Q27 V37 550
GMAT Simulator Set 1 Q38 V39 620
MGMAT Q48 V38 710
800 Score Q34 V41 620
800 Score Q36 V37 610
800 Score Q41 V50 740
GMAT Simulator Set 2 Q42 V31 610
GMAT Simulator Set 2 Q39 V24 550
GMAT Simulator Set 2 Q33 V41 610
GMAT Prep Q38 V30 570
GMAT Prep Q39 V31 590

Since the official GMAT Prep is suppose to be the most accurate are those scores the only ones that indicate what I will score on the real exam?

Should I keep taking any more practice exams with only a week left?

What would you guys and gals do if in my position?
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New post 04 Mar 2012, 14:28
Hi Brian,

I'm curious as to how you've been studying over the last x months. Have you been taking weekly practice tests? Regardless of whether you break up the tests by 5 days or 2 weeks, have you been learning from the mistakes you've made on these tests? Also, besides test what prep materials have you been using?

The reason I'm asking all this is I wonder if most of your prep has involved taking practice tests. Since you haven't seen a consistent increase in score perhaps you are not as drilling the fundamentals as much as you should. It could be that you are strong in some areas but weak in others, and have not focused on developing the latter. If any of this is the case, I would definitely postpone on taking the test.

Instead, you should focus on a study plan that will help you address any weaknesses (or a tenuous grasp of certain fundamentals that is plaguing you).

But before I can unequivocally say, Yes, retake the test, I would be curious to know how you've been preparing for the GMAT.

Let me know, and we can go from there :).
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New post 04 Mar 2012, 16:12
ChrisLele wrote:
Hi Brian,

I'm curious as to how you've been studying over the last x months. Have you been taking weekly practice tests? Regardless of whether you break up the tests by 5 days or 2 weeks, have you been learning from the mistakes you've made on these tests? Also, besides test what prep materials have you been using?

The reason I'm asking all this is I wonder if most of your prep has involved taking practice tests. Since you haven't seen a consistent increase in score perhaps you are not as drilling the fundamentals as much as you should. It could be that you are strong in some areas but weak in others, and have not focused on developing the latter. If any of this is the case, I would definitely postpone on taking the test.

Instead, you should focus on a study plan that will help you address any weaknesses (or a tenuous grasp of certain fundamentals that is plaguing you).

But before I can unequivocally say, Yes, retake the test, I would be curious to know how you've been preparing for the GMAT.

Let me know, and we can go from there :).


I started studying back in January of this year. I roughly took a practice test once or twice a week for three month. I have both the Veritas, MGMAT, and the OG12 as material and I have done them all. My error log doesn't show that i'm seriously weak in any one area. Out of all the types of problems i've done i've scored roughly a 70% on each section.

Given the amount of mock tests and studying i've done i'm afraid i've hit my peak.

For my last week i plan on just focusing on verbal since that is the area that has fluctuated the most.
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New post 04 Mar 2012, 20:01
Hmmm...with only a week left, I'm not sure how easy it would be to make any significant improvements. Perhaps one general area is the questions you've answered incorrectly. Is there any sort of pattern to your wrong answers? Take verbal. Are there certain kinds of Critical Reasoning questions in which you are drawn to a certain type of answer choice that turns out to be incorrect? Again, I am trying to find some area in which you could make an improvement. Without a tutor - at least not in the one week you have - it may be hard to pinpoint anything.

The GMATprep is usually the best indicator of your actual score so if breaking a 600 will help you with your b-school goals, then take the test. If you truly need a 700+, then postponing the test may not be a bad idea. But investing in a tutor could definitely make a difference if you've been going at it by yourself this entire time. If a large number of sessions with a tutor turns out to be prohibitive cost-wise, you may want to check out Magoosh's GMAT product: http://gmat.magoosh.com/plans

I hope that was helpful and don't hesitate to follow up. I'd like to be able to pinpoint something you can is the remaining week to help you improve by test day.

Best of luck :)
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New post 04 Mar 2012, 20:18
brian2426 wrote:

Since the official GMAT Prep is suppose to be the most accurate are those scores the only ones that indicate what I will score on the real exam?


Pretty much but then, except for a couple of outliers (the MGMAT test and the 3rd 800 score), your score range has been 550 - 620. Anyone with a current level of 580-590 is bound to get scores in this range. 20-30 point here and there is normal. The big concern here should be that you did not see consistent improvement.

A practice test has two main purposes:
1. It helps you train your mind to perform under stress (read timed conditions) for 4 hrs at a stretch.
2. It helps you identify your weak areas so that you can improve upon them.

There are many things a pratice test does not do: it doesn't help you understand the concepts you do not know, it doesn't give you time to think harder on the problems you do not comprehend easily, it doesn't make you capable of achieving a higher score in the next test etc. In addition, it eats up a lot of your time so until and unless you are devoting 8 hrs a day to your test prep, it is highly inadvisable to take many practice tests.

Ideally, you should take one diagnostic before you start your prep, then you should take a test after going through most of the theory and low and medium level practice questions from the material of your choice, and then after reviewing your weak areas again, you can take one practice test every week for 3-4 weeks (depending on your test date).

brian2426 wrote:
Should I keep taking any more practice exams with only a week left? What would you guys and gals do if in my position?

Definitely a 'no'. If your aim is to get around 600, try to relax and work on your weak areas. Your last GMAT prep tests scores were 570 and 590 (if the scores are listed in the order in which the tests were taken) so with some effort, you should touch 600. On the other hand, if you are aiming for something higher, you might want to postpone your test. I don't think you have been approaching the preparation in the right way. You need to put in effort to learn and apply the concepts. You need to practice a lot of questions un-timed before you decide that you are ready to give yourself the stress of a ticking clock. When you do take a practice test, you need to analyze each and every question thereafter to understand exactly what the question wanted, what you did, where you are lacking and how you can do better the next time around. Taking the test takes 4 hrs but analyzing it takes 8 hrs at least.

Honestly, at this point, I wouldn't expect a miraculous result (though I would hope for one). But with some effort, you could see miraculous improvement if you use the right approach.
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New post 05 Mar 2012, 06:38
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
brian2426 wrote:

Since the official GMAT Prep is suppose to be the most accurate are those scores the only ones that indicate what I will score on the real exam?


Pretty much but then, except for a couple of outliers (the MGMAT test and the 3rd 800 score), your score range has been 550 - 620. Anyone with a current level of 580-590 is bound to get scores in this range. 20-30 point here and there is normal. The big concern here should be that you did not see consistent improvement.

A practice test has two main purposes:
1. It helps you train your mind to perform under stress (read timed conditions) for 4 hrs at a stretch.
2. It helps you identify your weak areas so that you can improve upon them.

There are many things a pratice test does not do: it doesn't help you understand the concepts you do not know, it doesn't give you time to think harder on the problems you do not comprehend easily, it doesn't make you capable of achieving a higher score in the next test etc. In addition, it eats up a lot of your time so until and unless you are devoting 8 hrs a day to your test prep, it is highly inadvisable to take many practice tests.

Ideally, you should take one diagnostic before you start your prep, then you should take a test after going through most of the theory and low and medium level practice questions from the material of your choice, and then after reviewing your weak areas again, you can take one practice test every week for 3-4 weeks (depending on your test date).

brian2426 wrote:
Should I keep taking any more practice exams with only a week left? What would you guys and gals do if in my position?

Definitely a 'no'. If your aim is to get around 600, try to relax and work on your weak areas. Your last GMAT prep tests scores were 570 and 590 (if the scores are listed in the order in which the tests were taken) so with some effort, you should touch 600. On the other hand, if you are aiming for something higher, you might want to postpone your test. I don't think you have been approaching the preparation in the right way. You need to put in effort to learn and apply the concepts. You need to practice a lot of questions un-timed before you decide that you are ready to give yourself the stress of a ticking clock. When you do take a practice test, you need to analyze each and every question thereafter to understand exactly what the question wanted, what you did, where you are lacking and how you can do better the next time around. Taking the test takes 4 hrs but analyzing it takes 8 hrs at least.

Honestly, at this point, I wouldn't expect a miraculous result (though I would hope for one). But with some effort, you could see miraculous improvement if you use the right approach.


Thanks for affirming what I already believe. My highest scores have been on mock exams where I had more than a 24hr break. I'll probably stop taking mock exams at this point and make sure that I understand all the questions I missed in official guide 12.
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New post 14 Mar 2012, 22:06
Wow, you've taken a LOT of practice exams and your scores have been everywhere.

I would focus on not taking any more exams and focus on attack strategies to increase your overall score. Taking practice exams, getting prep help, and reviewing the answers to the test questions you've gone through already are going to be more important than taking more tests.

Focus on accuracy and efficiency! That will improve your score - not taking more practice tests!
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New post 25 Sep 2018, 06:50
Hi. I started my preparation about 1.5 months back and till now I have taken 3 mock tests.
GMAT Prep 1 - 660
GMAT Prep 2 - 680
MGMAT (free) - 560

I took all 3 mocks with a gap of approximately 10 days and the MGMAT mock has really hit my confidence. Till now I had been able to complete the quant section in all of the practice tests I took and was able to attempt 32/36 in the verbal section and all 36 in GMAT prep 2. But, I was able to attempt only 24 questions in the quant section and 28 in the verbal section in the manahttan mock.
Can someone please help me understand as to why this might have happened and how I can avoid this in the future?

Thanks in advance.
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New post 25 Sep 2018, 12:00
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Hi shubham21,

To start, all of the other posts in this thread are over 6 years old, so you will likely receive more of a response if you start your own post thread (click the orange "new topic" button near the upper-left side of the forum box).

The MGMAT CATs are generally regarded as being a bit tougher than the Official CATs, so a drop in your scores isn't necessary a bad sign. 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) What study materials have you used so far?
2) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
3) What is your goal score?
4) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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New post 25 Sep 2018, 17:42
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi shubham21,

To start, all of the other posts in this thread are over 6 years old, so you will likely receive more of a response if you start your own post thread (click the orange "new topic" button near the upper-left side of the forum box).

The MGMAT CATs are generally regarded as being a bit tougher than the Official CATs, so a drop in your scores isn't necessary a bad sign. 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) What study materials have you used so far?
2) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
3) What is your goal score?
4) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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


Hi Rich,

Thanks for the quick reply. I'm new to GMAT club and wasn't sure if I should create a new thread for this or not.
To answer your questions:

1) I have used the OG and the study material provided by the coaching institute that I joined (Jamboree). I felt the material is quite exhaustive and has a good collection of questions collected from various sources. I am done with the OG, but I'm still solving the Jamboree material.
2) GMAT Prep 1 - 660 (Q47 V35)
GMAT Prep 1.2 - 680 (Q49 V33) - I took the first mock again, however no question from my first attempt repeated.
MGMAT - 560 (Q41 V27)
3) I am targeting a 720
4) I haven't yet booked a slot, but I plan to take the test sometime around 15th October.
5) I plan to apply this year, I'm not aiming for MBA, but for a Master's
6) HEC Paris, MBS, Purdue University and ESADE are some of the schools I'll be applying to, however I still haven't made a final list.

Awaiting your response.
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New post 25 Sep 2018, 19:37
shubham21 wrote:
Hi. I started my preparation about 1.5 months back and till now I have taken 3 mock tests.
GMAT Prep 1 - 660
GMAT Prep 2 - 680
MGMAT (free) - 560

I took all 3 mocks with a gap of approximately 10 days and the MGMAT mock has really hit my confidence. Till now I had been able to complete the quant section in all of the practice tests I took and was able to attempt 32/36 in the verbal section and all 36 in GMAT prep 2. But, I was able to attempt only 24 questions in the quant section and 28 in the verbal section in the manahttan mock.
Can someone please help me understand as to why this might have happened and how I can avoid this in the future?

Thanks in advance.
It's important to not compare scores across tests.

There's still a bit of work ahead of you if you want to bring your score up to 720. A Q50 would really help, as would a verbal score consistently at or above 35. Given that you are targeting October 15th, you could take a couple more GMATPreps (the paid ones) and keep 2 in reserve for a second attempt, should one become necessary. If you have the time to take more tests, do 1-2 non-official tests (try to do them before you do your official tests though).
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New post 25 Sep 2018, 20:33
AjiteshArun wrote:
shubham21 wrote:
Hi. I started my preparation about 1.5 months back and till now I have taken 3 mock tests.
GMAT Prep 1 - 660
GMAT Prep 2 - 680
MGMAT (free) - 560

I took all 3 mocks with a gap of approximately 10 days and the MGMAT mock has really hit my confidence. Till now I had been able to complete the quant section in all of the practice tests I took and was able to attempt 32/36 in the verbal section and all 36 in GMAT prep 2. But, I was able to attempt only 24 questions in the quant section and 28 in the verbal section in the manahttan mock.
Can someone please help me understand as to why this might have happened and how I can avoid this in the future?

Thanks in advance.
It's important to not compare scores across tests.

There's still a bit of work ahead of you if you want to bring your score up to 720. A Q50 would really help, as would a verbal score consistently at or above 35. Given that you are targeting October 15th, you could take a couple more GMATPreps (the paid ones) and keep 2 in reserve for a second attempt, should one become necessary. If you have the time to take more tests, do 1-2 non-official tests (try to do them before you do your official tests though).



Hi Ajitesh,

Thanks for the reply. Which unofficial tests would you recommend?
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New post 25 Sep 2018, 21:25
Hi shubham21,

Many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so if you've studied for just 1.5 months, you should not expect to have mastered any of the concepts just yet (and variations in your score are possible). In that same way, you might naturally improve as you continue to study. With a tentative mid-October Test Date, that would only give you approximately 3 more weeks of study time though - so you might want to consider pushing back your Test Date (even if it's just for a few additional weeks - the extra study time could be quite helpful).

1) What are the application deadlines for each of the Programs that you plan to apply to?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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New post 25 Sep 2018, 23:23
shubham21 wrote:
Hi. I started my preparation about 1.5 months back and till now I have taken 3 mock tests.
GMAT Prep 1 - 660
GMAT Prep 2 - 680
MGMAT (free) - 560

I took all 3 mocks with a gap of approximately 10 days and the MGMAT mock has really hit my confidence. Till now I had been able to complete the quant section in all of the practice tests I took and was able to attempt 32/36 in the verbal section and all 36 in GMAT prep 2. But, I was able to attempt only 24 questions in the quant section and 28 in the verbal section in the manahttan mock.
Can someone please help me understand as to why this might have happened and how I can avoid this in the future?

Thanks in advance.


You need to slow down. Stop taking practice tests and work on the basic concepts and techniques. Inconsistent practice test performance is a clear indicator of weak fundamentals.
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New post 29 Sep 2018, 17:42
Hi shubham21,

As has been mentioned already, you do not need to worry about the drop in your score from the MGMAT. Remember, when you take practice tests from companies other than GMAC, you may find some variation in algorithms used and thus variations in your score.

Regarding your score goal, although you have an awesome quant score, to score 720, you will need to improve your verbal score. Since you scored a V35/V37, you clearly lack some fundamental skills necessary for a good verbal score. That being said, the process of improving your verbal skills will take more than two weeks. Are you able to take the GMAT at a later date?

Furthermore, if you need any advice on how to improve your verbal skills, please reach back out, and I can provide some specific advice. 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 30 Sep 2018, 09:28
Hi Brian,

This article really changed my perspective on how to prepare for the GMAT and helped me push my score further up. I would highly recommend everyone to bookmark this article and read every few weeks in order to remember all the great tips that Scott, one of the most well-known GMAT instructors, has listed down: https://gmatclub.com/forum/most-compreh ... 76986.html.

Hope this help! Good luck with your prep :)
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New post 08 Oct 2018, 06:02
Hi All,

After considering your inputs, I decided to push my date a little. I went back and worked on my basics and took 3 more official mocks, the scores are mentioned below:

Gmat Prep 2 (retake) - 720 (Q49, V40)
Gmat Prep 3 - 740 (Q50, V40)
Gmat Prep 4 - 690 (Q49, V34)

My question now is regarding the 4th Gmat prep mock. The number of questions that I got wrong in verbal was 10, which is just 2 more than the other two mocks, but the drop in score is significant. Also, the number of questions I got wrong in quant (5) is actually fewer then any of the previous mocks, but the scaled score is still 49. I don't understand why this happened. I thing I can do to avoid such inconsistent scores? Thanks in advance!
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What to do about inconsistent practice GMAT scores?  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Oct 2018, 18:14
shubham21 wrote:
Hi All,

After considering your inputs, I decided to push my date a little. I went back and worked on my basics and took 3 more official mocks, the scores are mentioned below:

Gmat Prep 2 (retake) - 720 (Q49, V40)
Gmat Prep 3 - 740 (Q50, V40)
Gmat Prep 4 - 690 (Q49, V34)

My question now is regarding the 4th Gmat prep mock. The number of questions that I got wrong in verbal was 10, which is just 2 more than the other two mocks, but the drop in score is significant. Also, the number of questions I got wrong in quant (5) is actually fewer then any of the previous mocks, but the scaled score is still 49. I don't understand why this happened. I thing I can do to avoid such inconsistent scores? Thanks in advance!
The score depends on the difficulty level of the questions as well. You must have got some questions that the test considers easy incorrect. But don't worry about this, as inconsistency can't be completely eliminated. Your score range has moved up, and that's what matters.
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