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# What went wrong and what can I do?

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Joined: 09 Mar 2018
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What went wrong and what can I do?  [#permalink]

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18 Oct 2018, 11:30
I took the GMAT exam for the second time this week. My first attempt in April I got a Q24 and Verbal 25. I started studying full time from Mid August until Mid October 2 months using the GMAT official questions for verbal and Target Test Prep for Quant. I really liked Target Test prep and felt more comfortable doing the quant questions. I did 4 practice CAT tests (GMAT prep) within the last 11 days before my test with an average of 2-3 days in between.

I scored 550 on the first (Q31 V35) 600 on the second (Q37 V35) 590 on the third (Q36 V35) and the 4th 2 days before my exam (Q27 V36). I ended up scoring Q24 and V33 on the actual test. I was discouraged and don't know how I went wrong. I'm re-writing the test on November 21st and need just a 550 to get into the school I applied for. What should I do differently this time around? I'm thinking I burned out because I was feeling pretty tired in the final days leading up to my test. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Note: Don't try selling me any of your course materials I have more than enough practice questions at my disposal already.
Joined: 19 Jul 2018
Posts: 97
Re: What went wrong and what can I do?  [#permalink]

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18 Oct 2018, 13:27
Hey jciraczz,

It's pretty likely that you ended up exhausting yourself in the last few days leading up to your exam. Taking a practice CAT is hard work, both physically and mentally, and chances are if you were trying to squeeze in a test every 2 - 3 days in the 11 days leading up to your exam that you weren't as mentally rested as you could have been going into the test. While taking CATs during preparation to get used to the timing and the experience of sitting and taking a test for that long is important, so to is resting your brain before the big day.

1) Order an Enhanced Score Report, which can help you figure out where things went wrong on test day.

2) Use that information to structure your last month of preparation. While you probably will need to do a one or two more practice CATs, remember that they are generally a method of monitoring progress -- they should not be your primary method of study! Instead, focus on your weakest areas. In an adaptive test, the easiest questions you get wrong are often going to be more important to your score than are the hardest questions you can get right -- after all, if you can't prove that you can consistently do easier questions, the algorithm has no proof that you'll be able to handle harder ones.

3) Make sure to relax a bit before you take your next test. It seems counterintuitive, but taking a couple days off studying (or only doing some VERY light content review) is really important to performing well on test day. Think about it in terms of sports training: a marathon runner isn't going to run a 20 -mile run the weekend before the big day. He or she will have done that a few weeks before. Instead, they'll spend the weekend before making sure to eat and drink well and "taper off" the amount they're running in order to be well rested for the big run. The same principle applies when you're about to take the GMAT. A bit of light review is fine, but trying to cram in new concepts or take a ton of CATs is probably going to do more harm than good.
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Re: What went wrong and what can I do?  [#permalink]

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18 Oct 2018, 18:38
jciraczz wrote:
I took the GMAT exam for the second time this week. My first attempt in April I got a Q24 and Verbal 25. I started studying full time from Mid August until Mid October 2 months using the GMAT official questions for verbal and Target Test Prep for Quant. I really liked Target Test prep and felt more comfortable doing the quant questions. I did 4 practice CAT tests (GMAT prep) within the last 11 days before my test with an average of 2-3 days in between.

I scored 550 on the first (Q31 V35) 600 on the second (Q37 V35) 590 on the third (Q36 V35) and the 4th 2 days before my exam (Q27 V36). I ended up scoring Q24 and V33 on the actual test. I was discouraged and don't know how I went wrong. I'm re-writing the test on November 21st and need just a 550 to get into the school I applied for. What should I do differently this time around? I'm thinking I burned out because I was feeling pretty tired in the final days leading up to my test. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Note: Don't try selling me any of your course materials I have more than enough practice questions at my disposal already.
If you're feeling burned out, the first thing to do is to let yourself recover. Maybe with some light prep thrown in, but nothing major.

1. What do you think happened in the tests in which you got Q31 and Q27? Was it just tiredness, or were there some questions or concepts that threw you off? You should think about this, as your Q37 and Q36 are much better scores (Q37 is 32%, whereas Q27 is 12%).

2. You were able to maintain a higher level of performance in verbal (you improved from V25 to V33). This score is in line with your GMATPrep scores (V35, V35, V35, and V36). This point itself could indicate (for the quant section) that you were nervous or that you still need to work on the basics. That is, if you were tired, I would have expected your verbal score to also drop by much more than the 8% that it did.

3. Did you take quant first or did you take verbal first this time around?
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Re: What went wrong and what can I do?  [#permalink]

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18 Oct 2018, 19:18
Hi jciraczz,

In a post back in April of this year (here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/where-do-i-g ... l#p2045263), you described your first GMAT attempt - with a similar outcome. Twice now, you've consistently scored higher on your practice CATs only to earn a significantly lower Score on Test Day. As such, there's likely some issue (or multiple issues) with how you take your CATs and/or how you handle Test Day itself. To hit your Goal Score, you do NOT have to correctly answer any questions that you think are too hard or too weird, but you do have to minimize the number of little mistakes.

The process of taking (and reviewing) a CAT requires a significant amount of energy and effort - and takes time to 'recover' from. This is one of the reasons why you typically shouldn't take more than 1 CAT per week - and your last CAT should be taken about 1 week before Test Day. By taking 4 CATs in the 11 days before your Official GMAT, there's a reasonable chance that you experienced some 'burn out' on Test Day. If you took a similar number of CATs in the final 2 weeks before your first GMAT, then that might be enough to explain your situation. However, there are likely a variety of other factors that influenced your performance (on both attempts) - and that might require more than just a few "tips" to fix.

1) What application deadline(s) are you facing?
2) When you say that you "only need" a 550, what does that mean exactly? Is that a minimum score requirement to apply? Would a 550 guarantee you entry (and how do you know that?)?

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Rich
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Re: What went wrong and what can I do?  [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2018, 16:38
Hi jciraczz,

I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT. I see that you’ve been using our course for two months, but I’d like to take a closer look at your analytics to see how you’ve been scoring as well as how much of the course you’ve completed. I just sent you a DM, so we can hop on a call to chat further.

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Re: What went wrong and what can I do?   [#permalink] 21 Oct 2018, 16:38
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# What went wrong and what can I do?

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