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## 450 ways to misery

This topic has 2 expert replies and 4 member replies
dzodzo85 Just gettin' started!
Joined
06 Jul 2011
Posted:
1 messages
Test Date:
February 2012
Target GMAT Score:
700+
450 ways to misery Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:44 am
REPORT OF THE GMAT EXPERIENCE
450 (Quantitative Score 28, Verbal Score 24)

INTRODUCTION
On Thursday 31st May 2012, I sat to take the GMAT in Accra, Ghana (precisely at the Pearson-Vue testing center in Total House, Accra). My testing session began at 9:28 am and ended at 1:27 pm, for approximately 4 hours.

REACTION AT THE SCORE
At the end of the test my score was a disastrous 450 (Quantitative Score 28, Verbal Score 24). After witnessing the score, I was really stunned and disappointed. I had spent close to 3 and a half months preparing for the test, putting my heart and soul in preparing for this exam.

LENGTH OF STUDY TIME
I used 3 and half months in preparing for the test

MATERIALS USED FOR TEST PREPARATION
1. Manhattan GMAT Set of 8 Strategy Guides
2. Official Guide to GMAT Review 12th edition
3. Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2nd edition
4. Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review 2nd edition
5. Aristotle SC Grail
6. Veritas Prep Critical and Data Sufficiency Guides
7. GMATClub and Beat the GMAT
8. Afex 3-Month GMAT prep course (local test preparation center). Ronald and Albert, the instructors for Quantitative and Verbal respectively were very helpful.
9. 800 score.com CATs and GMATPrep CATs

GENERAL STUDYING
I mainly spent my days studying for the GMAT at Afex Test Prep Center. I started studying in March with Albert for the verbal section. I learned the nuances of each question type, and I started to aggressively practice for the section. In March, I received the following scores for my GMAT Practice CATs:
800 score.com CAT 1: 470
800 score.com CAT 2: 380
800 score.com CAT 3: 580

In April and May, I attacked the quantitative section, especially the Data Sufficiency section and I later noticed that I was improving on a previously foreign section to me. In May, I did not study for a week, because I attended the funeral of a cousin in South Africa, who passed away on 30th April. In fact, I regained my composure 5 days after I returned from the funeral (around 2-3 weeks before writing the test). That could have been an unsettling factor during my test prep.

GMAT Prep Scores for May:
GMATPrep 1: 350
GMAT Prep 2: 420
TEST DAY EVENTS
I arrived at the test center 40 minutes before my scheduled appointment. I checked in at around 9:25 am and I went through the registration process, before I was handed my test booklet and I sat down at my workstation and went through the tutorial, and then proceeded to the AWA essays. I received an Argument essay first and I was able to write the essay in the allotted 30 minutes. Then I got to an Issue essay, which also I wrote confidently.

After spending one hour on the essays, I took my first 8 minute break and I ate half of a chocolate bar and I returned to start the Quantitative Section. I checked in and to my dismay on the screen, I had spent 2 more minutes on break, meaning that I had 73 minutes to answer 37 questions in the Quantitative section, which unsettled me a bit and brought my confidence down. I was able to answer the questions in the section confidently, but I sort of noticed that after a few moderately difficult questions, I was getting some easy questions, and I took this to mean that my quantitative score was not good at all. Nevertheless, I kept pushing on and I answered all the questions before time was up. At the end of the section, I took my second break and had the rest of the bar of chocolate. In hindsight I may have rushed a few math questions.

After my break, I began the verbal section, which started off with 2 sentence correction questions, which I was able to clear with ease, before the other part of the test reared its head. I felt that the critical reasoning questions were not too bad. Majority of them were in the mould of strengthen the argument. Reading Comprehension passages were also fairly balanced and not too intimidating. After I finished the tests and saw the scores I received I was disappointed.

REMARKS AND OBSERVATIONS
Here are the things I have noticed about the GMAT and what I could have done:
1. Practiced more quantitative and verbal questions and completed more full CATs. This is a key to improvement on the GMAT. I also want to know which is the best practice CAT apart from the Official GMATPrep Software.

2. Had a life apart from the GMAT and not in some cases over studied. As I am unemployed, I took this to be my full time job. Sometimes I wish I was able to do other stuff apart from studying. There were certain times I was clearly in no shape to study, but I forced myself to study, especially spending late night. Sometimes I used to get agitated doing certain things over the GMAT. It seems that my enthusiasm for achieving a 700 score may have been an unhealthy obsession.

3. Broken down my major goal into smaller bits and achieving them. I was targeting a 700+ score, but I should have had smaller goals which would have made surmounting this much easier.

4. Worked on my fundamentals and basics. I believe that had I worked more on deepening my understanding of the quantitative and verbal fundamentals before studying for the GMAT, my score would definitely be higher than what I received. Success on the GMAT is clearly incumbent on a good understanding of English and mathematics fundamentals.

5. Worked on ironing out my weaknesses more closely. I have noticed that to succeed on the GMAT, one must work to minimize his or her weaknesses in order to earn a high score. My clear weaknesses were Critical Reasoning and Data Sufficiency.

PERSONAL BACKGROUND NOTES
• 26 Year Old Ghanaian male
• Earned my high school diploma and college degree from the United States (spent a total of 8yrs and 2 months studying and living there).
• Returned back to Ghana to find a job, due to the credit crunch/financial crisis in the USA (2009), but without success, as it was and it is still very challenging finding full time employment at home.
• Only notable job experience was 2 low paying internships with the HR department of a notable international bank (SCB).
• Unemployed for the most of 3 years out of university.
• Wanted to write the GMAT to eventually pursue an MBA at a top 20 graduate business school to help resurrect my career but it seems impossible.
• Currently have no idea of what to do as I feel that my journey into the working world may be over before it started and I may have to change careers or forever remain unemployed.
• Live with parents but I want to be able to stand on my two feet in life and professionally.

CONCLUSION:
In light of my dismal performance, I wanted to kiss my MBA aspirations goodbye. However, there is something inside me that wants to keep going for this qualification. Maybe I may have to retake the GMAT, but at a later date and at a time where I am very comfortable with the basics and fundamentals.
PS: I know this post is long, but if I am to get solutions to some of the issues I faced when I was writing the GMAT, I must freely air out my concerns and worries. Experts and 700+ scorers, feel free to make the necessary remarks and critique where necessary. I HAVE NO IDEA OF WHAT TO DO NEXT.

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NextGreatLeader Really wants to Beat The GMAT!
Joined
21 May 2012
Posted:
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Target GMAT Score:
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Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:12 pm
dzodzo85, I don't know how to help you improve your score, but I do recommend that read BTG's success stories. Many people have felt confused and stressed after not getting their target score, and yet have been able to bounce back and land an amazing score. You've already put a lot of energy into studying for the GMAT, so you shouldn't give up unless you truly feel a MBA isn't for you.

### GMAT/MBA Expert

Brent@GMATPrepNow GMAT Instructor
Joined
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Posted:
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GMAT Score:
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Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:45 am

Take a break from the GMAT for a while. Don't make any decisions about your future with the test-day let-down still fresh in your mind.

When you do begin preparing again, don't book your test until you have reached your target score at least two times in practice tests. By the way, you can take the official GMATPrep tests more than one time. I wrote an article about this (http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2010/03/18/taking-the-gmatprep-practice-tests-multiple-times)

If you choose not to take the GMAT again, keep in mind that there are MBA programs that don't have a GMAT requirement. So, I see no reason why you should "kiss your MBA aspirations goodbye."

Finally, (as NextGreatLeader suggested) be sure to read the success stories in this forum. There are a lot of 450 to 700+ stories that will inspire you.

Cheers,
Brent

_________________
Brent Hanneson, BSc, BEd, MEd
- Check out GMAT Prep Now’s online course at http://www.gmatprepnow.com/
- Use our video course in conjunction with
- Watch hours of free videos on DS, RC and AWA
- Our top 3 free videos:
1) The Double Matrix method
3) Managing your time on the GMAT

Last edited by Brent@GMATPrepNow on Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:38 pm; edited 1 time in total

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mirfan2 Just gettin' started!
Joined
05 Dec 2009
Posted:
12 messages
Thanked:
4 times
Target GMAT Score:
680+
GMAT Score:
720
Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:43 am
Don't want to rub on your wounds, but I get the impression that those 2 extra minutes (when you overshot your break) totally threw you off your game, and from that point on, you were playing catch-up. Just sharing your experience here you have shown some courage, and for now as Brent mentioned, you need sometime to cleanse your system. Its not easy to recover to from a bad experience, it almost like post-traumatic stress the more you think about it the worse it gets, but for now you need to get it out of your system. When you read the 400s - 700 stories, you'll see a common theme among many was that their adversity was a very strong motivator to do better next time. Keep your dreams alive, lick your wounds, do some introspection, when you do stand-up you'll need to ready to fight with this beast aka the GMAT.

Last edited by mirfan2 on Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:28 am; edited 1 time in total

mrinal2100 Rising GMAT Star
Joined
25 Jun 2008
Posted:
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Thanked:
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Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:00 pm
Hi Brent,
i have a qsnt.I also gave gmat few days back and got 630.now i remember most of qstns of gmat prep andi fear that when i will give the gmatprep the score will be inflated.I dont know what to do about that.

### GMAT/MBA Expert

Brent@GMATPrepNow GMAT Instructor
Joined
08 Dec 2008
Posted:
3906 messages
Followed by:
603 members
Thanked:
1687 times
GMAT Score:
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Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:41 pm
mrinal2100 wrote:
Hi Brent,
i have a qsnt.I also gave gmat few days back and got 630.now i remember most of qstns of gmat prep andi fear that when i will give the gmatprep the score will be inflated.I dont know what to do about that.
You will see about 6 repeated questions per section.

Duplicate questions can affect your score and may yield skewed results if you answer repeated questions quickly and bank extra time in the process. To mitigate this, I suggest that, when you do see a duplicate question, take the “usual” amount of time (1.5 to 2 minutes) to answer it.

This will help give you more accurate results.

Cheers,
Brent

_________________
Brent Hanneson, BSc, BEd, MEd
- Check out GMAT Prep Now’s online course at http://www.gmatprepnow.com/
- Use our video course in conjunction with
- Watch hours of free videos on DS, RC and AWA
- Our top 3 free videos:
1) The Double Matrix method
3) Managing your time on the GMAT

Study Smart! Use Beat The GMAT’s FREE 60-Day Study Guide in conjunction with GMAT Prep Now’s video course and reach your target score in 2 months! With two money-back guarantees, you can try us out risk-free.
pemdas GMAT Titan
Joined
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Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:46 pm
@dzodzo85

Relax and read, I will posting my last (hopefully) and the 1000th post at BTG, a flavored web-site devoted exclusively to GMAT- thanks to its creators (I omit names, everybody knows them)

I shall pursuit quite different life path and may be tied to GMAT only occasionally hereon ...

I have devoted some time to GMAT and describe underneath my pertinent thoughts:
1) it is not an exam of general human intelligence
2) you cannot master high school math or become advanced critical reader by prepping to the exam within 3-6 month period
3) GMAT is beatable provided you have acquired the knowledge in quantitative and verbal areas

If you really want to score high on GMAT with your present, baseline score (consider this objectively and not subjectively as something extraneous or accidental) you will have to spend time and keep practicing on the following subjects

- Math (must cover curriculum provided with Official guide for GMAT, drill with Manhattan GMAT questions in untimed manner without any mistakes in quant section or with minor 2-3 mistakes per section)
- Verbal (start reading "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, write down unfamiliar words - this is the most dramatic and complex in terms of psychological aspects literature piece I have ever read, solve critical reasoning questions from OG and consult any book you find devoted to GMAT CR section for the reference on logical relationship, master English grammar and drill with MGMAT SC guide)

After you complete the work stages listed above, you will need

- to develop timing strategy for Math (consult strategy section of BTG and do as many CATs as you can buy/find/download/access) - rely only on the lowest ever gotten score in non-repeated CATs as your current baseline score approximation
- to develop timing strategy for Verbal (again consult strategy section of BTG and do many CATs)

finally, consider your age and ability to concentrate incessantly on the exam content during test day.

Some final tips:
- consider math course required for GMAT not as one big book reading but as the way of long practice and obtaining advanced skills by approaching very difficult math questions;
- when reading passages always stay connected with the passage and keep your focus on the passage at any time; the moment you loose connection, you will be failing three questions in a row in the verbal section - just don't disconnect. Always speed your connection with every additional RC passage, stay connected;
- don't be confused if you find your logic contradicting the logic of GMAT writers, this is natural. The way GMAT critical reasoning arguments are worded is weird and complex - you have to follow this way on your own and learn on your own mistakes. In real life you will rarely encounter GMAT like logic questions, as most people are inclined to having *fun* instead of conducting *serious* analysis of situation. But you need to know what goes wrong in logical structure in general as GMAT asks you in exam and someday your boss may get mad on you and seek the full work revenge against yourself

So follow this plan and you will succeed in GMAT - there's no way you can fail with this plan excluding force major conditions.

_________________
Success doesn't come overnight!

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