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year and half of studying with 30 point increase. Help!

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year and half of studying with 30 point increase. Help!  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2018, 17:08
I have been studying the gmat since August 2017 and have taken the test three times. After taking the test today I was shocked that I’d only improved my score by 30 points.

So I first decided that I wanted to apply to business school round mid August and aimed to take my first Gmat test around mid November. During that time I was completing my final year at university. Now I started by buying the Manhattan course and completed all the Manhattan guides. I thought that was all the theory I needed and then started practicing lots of questions, though I made the mistake of not reviewing the answers. I consistently did this until October and when I started taking tests I was getting around 570-590, which was disheartening as my aim was 700. On top of that my quant range was 44-49 but I was barely hitting v28, even though I was a native English speaker. After pushing my exam back to December I was hoping for a miracle and eventually ended up with 540 (q35 v28). I was absolutely devastated as I’d put in so much work studying on average 5 hours a day!

So after a month break I decided to try for the Gmat again and booked my exam in April. After looking online I saw great reviews for Empower and decided to give it a try. So I studied for a solid two months while balancing my uni work. Although my reviewing again wasn’t as thorough, however I picked up a lot of tips and tricks and on practice papers I was getting around 600-630. So I knew that I was improving my gmat score. However test day comes, nerves kicked in and I got 560 (q35, v32). Again, absolutely devastated as I knew that I had worked a lot harder and had definitely improved although this was not evident on my score. Crazy thing was that IR score was 7!

So I took a break until June so I could finish uni and move back home. Then I decided I would take a year off to perfect my gmat and volunteer in my free time. I decided this time to really review my answers and the explanations given. So for quant I did the whole of the OG book until I was able to complete most questions with little to no difficulty and started using the gmat club to help me. Moreover, I also did the same for verbal, used lsat papers for reading comprehension and read the economist for 30 minutes a day. So I was putting in a lot more effort this time round and was studying a lot smarter. I even purchased the EGmat, however I did not find this very useful. So everyday I was doing 30 quant questions, 5 cr questions, 2 RC passages and 10 sc questions a day with thorough reviewing. On top of that I had read the whole of the cr bible and read the Manhattan sc book again plus hired a tutor to help me. The tutor, however proved to be waste of time as they did not help to improve my score, which was now 650 (q44, v34) from the GMATPrep papers. And with the Veritas papers I saw a gradual improvement of 600 to 650 from June to November. So I decided to take the bullet and book a test in November as I felt that I had really improved. Test day comes and I get 570 (q44 v25). Did not expect it. From completing the gmatprep and getting a score of 650 (q44, v34) a week ago I did not understand how my score could have dropped so low.

Now I’m at a point where I don’t know what is going on as I know these scores do not reflect my ability. I just don’t know what to do from here. I’ve booked a test for February to stop myself from giving up. But I really don’t know where to go from here. Any help or suggestions would be great because I know 570 is not my ability.

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Re: year and half of studying with 30 point increase. Help!  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2018, 19:25
Shirshieravi wrote:
I consistently did this until October and when I started taking tests I was getting around 570-590, which was disheartening as my aim was 700. On top of that my quant range was 44-49 but I was barely hitting v28, even though I was a native English speaker. After pushing my exam back to December I was hoping for a miracle and eventually ended up with 540 (q35 v28). I was absolutely devastated as I’d put in so much work studying on average 5 hours a day!
This time you might want to look at setting a lower target, if only to divide the journey into more manageable increments (rather than one big jump).

Shirshieravi wrote:
Although my reviewing again wasn’t as thorough, however I picked up a lot of tips and tricks and on practice papers I was getting around 600-630.
Put a lot of effort into the review process. That's what will really help you learn from each question you do.

Shirshieravi wrote:
The tutor, however proved to be waste of time as they did not help to improve my score, which was now 650 (q44, v34) from the GMATPrep papers.
Do you have any GMATPrep practice tests left?

Shirshieravi wrote:
From completing the gmatprep and getting a score of 650 (q44, v34) a week ago I did not understand how my score could have dropped so low.
This could be exam pressure. Were the questions on your practice tests "fresh", or had you already seen some of them before? If you had not done those or similar questions before, the scores you got on those tests were representative of your ability at that time.

Shirshieravi wrote:
I’ve booked a test for February to stop myself from giving up. But I really don’t know where to go from here. Any help or suggestions would be great because I know 570 is not my ability.
I don't think it's necessary to take that exam in Feb, especially as you probably need time to recover and refocus. You also probably need to let go of at least some of what you've learnt (you've seen too many test prep providers!). As for the way ahead, I doubt there will be an easy answer. You probably know more about the GMAT by now than some tutors out there, so the good news is that you are qualified to decide on a course of action. For what it's worth, I would head back to the basics with official material and at most one reliable test prep provider if I were you.
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Re: year and half of studying with 30 point increase. Help!  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2018, 19:32
Thank you for that. the 650 I got on the gmat prep was a paper I had never done before and was done in exam conditions with no pausing and with appropriately timed breaks. I just found it very strange that 1 week later I dropped by 80 points.

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Re: year and half of studying with 30 point increase. Help!  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2018, 21:48
Hi Shirshieravi,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as planned. From what you describe, you clearly have worked through lots of practice questions and learned a lot about content and Tactics - but there is some type of 'disconnect' on Test Day. 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. If you can answer a few questions, then we should be able to figure this out.

Let's start with how you took your CATs during the last couple of months:

1) On what dates did you take EACH CAT and how did you Score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
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)?

You might also choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. While the ESR doesn't provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

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Re: year and half of studying with 30 point increase. Help!  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2018, 22:42
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Shirshieravi,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as planned. From what you describe, you clearly have worked through lots of practice questions and learned a lot about content and Tactics - but there is some type of 'disconnect' on Test Day. 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. If you can answer a few questions, then we should be able to figure this out.

Let's start with how you took your CATs during the last couple of months:


Thank you for your reply!

1) On what dates did you take EACH CAT and how did you Score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH:
27/11/18 real test 570 (q44, v25)
20/11/18 - GmatPrep 650(q45, v34)
14/11/18 - GmatPrep 640 (q44 v34)
7/11/18 - VeritasPrep 640 (q42, v36)
25/10/18 veritasprep 640 ( q44, v34)
1/10/18 VeritasPrep 630 (q45, v32)
13/07/18 VeritasPrep 620 (q44, v31)
4/04/18 real test 560 (q35, v32)
10/11/18 gmatprep 610 (q44, v30)
10/12/17 real test 540 (q45, v28)

Very shocked that my verbal suddenly dropped!

2) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
I did the quant and verbal sections first as I did on the test but just skipped over the IR and Essay
3) Did you take them at home?
I did all my tests at home
4) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
I always took my tests around 11:00-12:00, which was around the same time as my test
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.)?
No only the IR and essay but I did those sections last on test day.

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)?
No I made sure to never do the same CAT twice.

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Re: year and half of studying with 30 point increase. Help!  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Nov 2018, 08:15
Shirshieravi wrote:

Very shocked that my verbal suddenly dropped!

2) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?

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)?
No I made sure to never do the same CAT twice.

Posted from my mobile device


I can understand what you might be going through and to be honest, after reading the posts of other users, I feel many people who are preparing for GMAT do ungergo this frustration, so you are not alone.

Solution:
As AjiteshArun rightly said "You probably know more about the GMAT by now than some tutors out there". Now you have to use what you know to your advantage by following one more advice, which AjiteshArun has given "Put a lot of effort into the review process. That's what will really help you learn from each question you do"

If you know your content, if you are pacing your test properly, if you have a winning strategy and if you have faith in your capability I see no reason why you shouldn't be successful. All you need to do is believe in yourself.

I feel you need to settle down at one place and make yourself feel confident that you can do it. Start from the basics and build a strong foundation. You should know by now what is working for you and what is not? You need to introspect first and then act accordingly. Don't give up!! Find your way out!!

All the best!!
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Re: year and half of studying with 30 point increase. Help!  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2018, 18:14
Hi Shirshieravi,

I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT. First of all, studying for a year and half can be mentally taxing, so given that you have put so much blood, sweat, and tears into your prep, it’s certainly possible that all of that pressure negatively affected your performance on test day. Additionally, although it may sound crazy, despite studying for such a long period of time, your practice exam scores indicate that you still have lingering quant and verbal weaknesses, which may have been exposed further on test day.

Scoring high on the GMAT tends to involve using logic and noticing key details. However, it is possible to get some questions right by looking for patterns that you have already encountered in your preparation. Looking for patterns will not always work, though, and if the patterns you are familiar with don’t show up in the questions that you see on the actual GMAT, your score will not be very high. So, another possible reason for the difference between your scores on practice tests and your score on the real GMAT is that in your preparation, you did not really learn to do what you have to do in order to score high on quant and verbal. Rather, you picked up on some patterns that were effective in getting you relatively high scores on practice tests.

Moving forward, you need to go through GMAT quant and verbal carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills. The overall process will be to learn all about how to answer question types with which you currently aren't very comfortable and do dozens of practice questions category by category, basically driving up your score point by point. 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.

For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, then carefully review the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. 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. 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. 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.

You can work on verbal in a similar manner. Let’s say you are reviewing Critical Reasoning. Be sure that you practice a large number of Critical Reasoning questions: Strengthen and Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, find the Conclusion, Must be True, etc. As you go through the questions, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get correct. If you missed a Weaken question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize what the question was asking? Did you skip over a key detail in an answer choice? Getting GMAT verbal questions right is a matter of what you know, what you see, and what you do. So, any time that you don't get one right, you can seek to identify what you had to know to get the right answer, what you had to see that you didn't see, and what you could have done differently to arrive at the correct answer.

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.

I know that I provided you with a lot of information, so feel free to reach out with further questions. You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.
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Re: year and half of studying with 30 point increase. Help! &nbs [#permalink] 03 Dec 2018, 18:14
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