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Why did I get a lower GMAT Score than the one on Mock CATS?

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Why did I get a lower GMAT Score than the one on Mock CATS? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2016, 23:07
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Picture this - You have studied diligently for months leading up to the GMAT date. You have put in hard work, made strategies, understood all the concepts and have scored well on the mock CATs. Finally you take the GMAT and a score pops up that is much lower than what you expected and what you used to get on the mock CATs. Sounds familiar?

Well you are not the only one. We have encountered this situation many times before when students come to us with a difference as wide as 50 – 100 points, and we always feel how easily the situation could have been avoided. First of all, let us try to find the factors that contribute towards a lower score than your mock CATs.

1. Not mimicking the test conditions in mock CATs: This is the most common reason of getting a low score on the GMAT as compared to your mock CATs. Mimicking the conditions is of utmost importance. GMAT is just like a marathon race. You need to train your body and mind to perform at full capacity for the full 4 hours, else the results might not be favorable. Whenever you sit for a mock CAT, always make sure that you take the full length test including the AWA and IR sections. Do not pause the test or do anything which you would not be able to do on the real exam. Try to make the experience as realistic as possible. By doing this, you would be able to train your mind for the testing marathon.

2. Alien surroundings: The surroundings in which you take the test also play a big role in your final score. If possible, take the mock CATs away from the comfort of your home. This is not necessary, but will help you when you go inside the testing center. Another important thing is to visit the test center once before the test. Go to the test center one day before and familiarize yourself with the surroundings. Remember the location, so that you do not feel stressed or get late on the day of your GMAT. All these factors can negatively affect your final GMAT score

Timing the test as per your body clock: The body of different people works different at different times of a day. Some people are early risers and their brain functions at the peak early in the mornings. Whereas some people stay awake till late night and the maximum activity of their brain happens late in the day. It is of utmost importance to find out if you are an early riser or a night owl and the schedule your test accordingly. You would not want to give a test at 8 in the morning, when you wake up at 9: 30 regularly. Once you have figured out at what time of the day you want to take the GMAT, make sure that you take the mock CATs on the same hour of the day. This will prepare your body and mind to function at its peak level when you give the actual GMAT.

4. Your daily routine the day prior to the GMAT: This again is a very big factor in how you perform on the test day. You cannot expect to perform at your peak if you did not sleep properly the last night or you ate too much in the morning to avoid mid test hunger. Similarly your performance can dip considerable if you do not keep yourself hydrated during the test. Test takers avoid drinking water for the fear of visiting the restroom. On the contrary, you should not drink so much water/energy drink that you have to rush to the restroom midway. You should try all the combinations in your mock CAT and then finally implement the strategy that suits your body the most.

5. Timing issues: Sometimes students panic or become too conscious in the test. This results in timing issues and can adversely affect the score. Make sure that you stick to the timing strategy that
you have been following in your mock CATs. It is better is you make a timing table on your scratch book at the start of the test, so that you have an idea as to which part of the section you should be after a particular time interval.

Warm up before the test: Some students need a warm up session before they take the test. If you are one amongst those, make sure that you do some problem solving before you leave for the test center. The problems should not be of very high difficulty level, as you might run the risk of hurting your morale right before the test. However if you are not the one who needs a warm up, do not solve problems before the test. Do not do anything new.

As you can see that all of these factors can be worked upon by practicing in the right direction and keeping a vision throughout your preparation.

The other very important factor that can affect your score is:

Increased stress levels: Stress plays a big role in your scores. GMAT is not just a math and verbal test. It also tests how you handle your nerves and perform in high tension environment. You might have given many mock CATs and replicated the same testing environment by solving all the sections, taking all the breaks, going at an alien place to give the test and heck even eat the same thing that you would eat on the actual GMAT. You can replicate all these factors, but the one factor that you cannot replicate is the stress that you will have on the actual GMAT. While you may argue that you took the mock CAT as seriously as you would take the GMAT, but deep inside your brain and body knows that this is not the real deal. The stress has a very negative effect on your brain and affects your problem solving skills and in turn reduces the final score.

To overcome your stress, you need to tell yourself that the GMAT is not the most important test of your life. It is in fact not! You would be facing much more difficult tests later on. Your life is not dependent on the score you get. Go into the testing center visualizing your success. What would you do when you see your target score on the screen and who all will you call after the test? This would help you to reduce the stress levels and gain confidence. You might get a lower score, but you can always retake by understanding your mistakes and reach your dream score. The new policy by GMAC that allows you to cancel the scores and the schools will never come to know that you took the test is very helpful.

These are some of the major factors that can contribute towards a lower score. Some of these factors are not related to the knowledge that you gained while preparing, but they are as important as those concepts and fundamentals that you have learnt.

If you decide to retake the test, keep these things in mind and you would see yourself smiling while looking at the screen when you retake! If you feel there are some other factors that affected your performance – We are all ears.
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Why did I get a lower GMAT Score than the one on Mock CATS? [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2016, 00:26
Do you have any reliable data on how the mock CATs translate into a GMAT score? I am well aware of the fact that this will vary from person to person but how much should I trust my Optimus Prep CAT score?
Thanks for your help
PS: I am a very pleased customer of the Optimus Prep Software so far - you guys are doing a great job
Joined: 18 Feb 2016
Posts: 3
Re: Why did I get a lower GMAT Score than the one on Mock CATS? [#permalink]

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New post 29 Feb 2016, 17:55
Hey Veritas Prep. I'm facing a quandary and would love some help. I've taken 5 Veritas CATs so far, 3 Manhattan CATs, 1 Kaplan, 1 Economist and 3 GMATPrep CATs (2 free downloadable versions and 1 Exam pack1). My scores have been extremely variable to say the least.
Veritas: 600, 620, 610, 610, 620
Manhattan: 650, 600, 620
Kaplan: 610
Economist: 630
GMATPrep: 620, 640, 730 (V 42 & Q 48)

I'd like to add that I took the first 2 GMATPrep tests in the very beginning and yesterday I took the 3rd in which I scored a 730. This was after an additional 2 months of preparation. Meanwhile I've religiously taken Veritas CATs and have been at a consistent Q 42-43 & V 32. I even took a Veritas the night before i got the 730 on the GMATPrep exam 3.

I have my GMAT in 5 days and I'm wondering whether this 730 on the GMATPrep software is an actual representation of the score I might score on the actual Gmat.

Could someone comment on why they think I saw such a huge jump on the last test whereas I was getting a consistent 620 on Veritas and suddenly on the GMATPrep I got a 730?

Re: Why did I get a lower GMAT Score than the one on Mock CATS?   [#permalink] 29 Feb 2016, 17:55
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Why did I get a lower GMAT Score than the one on Mock CATS?

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