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650 in Tests( 44q 37v) to 510 in the Gmat(27q 31v)

This topic has 3 expert replies and 4 member replies
GarisD Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
15 May 2016
Posted:
2 messages

650 in Tests( 44q 37v) to 510 in the Gmat(27q 31v)

Post Sun May 15, 2016 5:54 am
Dear fellow members,

It is heartbreaking to expect a decent score and hit rock bottom. But let me start from the beginning.

Around August i started taking classes for the Gmat, immediately after my Ielts examination. It was extremely difficult to concentrate because my brother was hospitalized with a rapid fatal illness. As anyone can imagine, i tried to keep my mind occupied with something to make it through and the Gmat was such a thing. Eventually, in about 6 months or so my brother passed away.

Picking up my pieces 3 months later i decided to give it a try. I knew it would be a really hard task since i couldnt even concentrate for 10 minutes straight to something, but i gave it a try anyway. The score i needed for the master of my choice would be a minimum of 600, ideally a 680 to be safe. I purchased the Official Guide, the Kaplan with the 5 online tests and borrowed the manhattan series from my cousin. I did the first test and got 590. I was a little disappointed but i thought to myself " Look, whining will get you nowhere, sit your ass down and you ll get there. One step at a time". So i did.

The time i had in my disposal was limited, merely 14 days. To my surprise i was able to concentrate and study so i took advantage of it, studied all day for 14 days. 7 days prior to the examination i took the second Kaplan test and got 650. Wow that was a huge confidence booster. I thought i actually had a chance to make something good through all this mess. So i powered through even harder. It didnt felt like i had a grasp of all the concepts, i struggled at difficult quant problems and SC but i thought i should pick my poison and be done with it. If i could get 650 with these gaps then it's ok right?
I tried to brush up all the quant concepts cause that was way below my verbal score and 3 days prior to the exam i took a gmatprep test. 610, even though it felt extremely easy in the quant. I was 55th percentile in the quant and 63th in verbal. i thought wow, i got worse or kaplan was off. I panicked. Anxiety got to me like hell. If i failed in the exam i would miss the deadline of the University( RSM by the way). I focused on quant till the test date was due. i tried to sleep early, i was with 4 hours sleep the day before but guys and girls i couldn't. 10 pm laying in my bed and up until 3 am no sleep. In the end 4 hours of sleep was a luxury. Got to the exam center, anxiety through the roof and started the test. It felt easy. take away the first 5 question in the quant it felt really easy. finished on time and took the brake. The verbal had a couple hard passages but overall it also felt easy, i felt good. "Maybe you did it" I thought. And BAAAAAM! 510!!

I cant describe how devastated i was and still am. this was even lower than when i started preparing for the thing in the first place. I now have to wait a hole year to apply and start all over again with the exam. It feels terrible cause it is this feeling like you ve been preparing for something for so long, even though i actually didnt due to the circumstances but thats the feeling i have, and now i am back to square one. Plus i got destroyed on the actual thing.

So please, if anyone who has some experience with the Gmat can throw me a piece of advice, how to start again and direct me towards a study plan i would really appreciate it. As i see it, SC is a major weakness, some texts when dealing with science tend to be a little tricky, the quant is a huge problem, never got over the 55th percentile in any test. But please can someone tell me how can this discrepancy be between my test scores and my actual score. I dint need a huge score, a decent one would be fine but i blew it. I am determined to try my best and beat the 700 mark. At least that's what i say to myself to convince me.

So, any thoughts and advice guys.. Thanks..

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Post Sun May 15, 2016 9:41 am
Hi GarisD,

I'm sorry to hear about all of the difficulties that you've faced and that Test Day didn't go as well as planned. 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:

When you took your CATs:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
2) Did you take them at home?
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as your Official GMAT?
4) 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.)?
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE you took the CAT?

The lack of sleep the night before your Test likely played a major role in your performance. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Test, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

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

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Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

followurdreams Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
12 Mar 2015
Posted:
2 messages
Post Sun May 15, 2016 9:51 am
Hello,

First, I am truly sorry to hear about your brother. I can understand that this is a difficult phase for you and it would be extremely hard to concentrate and establish the balance.

Based upon my experience with GMAT, the hardest part is to identify your weaknesses and continuously work towards improving them. You really want to dig deeper within each section. For example, if SC is your weakest area, you need to analyze, dig deeper on the type of SC questions and practice until you improve. Remember, its not quantity that matters.

Second, You need to make sure that you really understand the concept. You may be great at solving the easy questions within a particular concept, but as the difficulty increases, it will be tough to answer within the 2 min timeframe if you do not thoroughly understand the concept.

Third, perseverance is really important. I struggled alot to beat the gmat. I was so frustrated that I ended up using all GMAT sources (Kaplan, Manhattan, Targetprep, VertiasPrep, etc.). In retrospect, this wasn't a productive approach. I was very impatience that a particular strategy didn't work and switched to another source that provided a different strategy. This would hurt than help. I would suggest you to stick with one source, follow the strategies, and really focus on your weaknesses. Practice harder questions within the particular concept. Understand the quick and efficient way of solving the same problem.

I would advise you to look at your previous tests, identify weaknesses (category, what type of question, what went wrong, how did you solve the problem, how long did you take to solve the problem, is this the best way to solve the problem, is there an efficient way to solve the problem, can you solve a harder problem within the same concept using your existing strategy/methodology, is there a new strategy that you need to adopt so that the strategy is consistent while solving all kinds (easy/medium/hard) of problems, etc) and prepare a schedule on how you want to allocate time to each of those areas.

There are plenty of resources. For me, Manhattan GMAT was really good. I would recommend Manhattan GMAT for Verbal. If possible, I would even recommend you to speak to someone at Manhattan on how to attack your weaknesses.

I hope this helps and I wish you all the best. Never give up!

"Dare to dream and care to achieve..."

GarisD Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
15 May 2016
Posted:
2 messages
Post Mon May 16, 2016 12:55 am
Thanks for taking the time to responds guys.
Quote:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
Yes i did. Both Verbal and Quant each time.

Quote:
2) Did you take them at home?
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as your Official GMAT?
4) 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.)?
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE you took the CAT?
I took them at home at 10 am, while i took the actual Gmat at 9:30 am. I followed the actual test rules, took the 8min break like i would. I didn't write the essay or the IR cause i decided not to write them. I didn't had the time to prepare for them so i skipped them, like i did on exam day. Never took a test more than once nor do i remember seeing the same questions. Similar yes, but i think that's the point of practice. Prepare for something similar, "don't reinvent the wheel each time" as Kaplan says.

However, the day before the test day, i could't even make basic mathematical calculations. I looked at a question, got the right strategy to solve it and somehow i ended with a wrong answer, only to find out i blew a basic calculation. No question my brain got fried, but still its a shock to hit 510 when i was at 590 to begin with.

Quote:
Third, perseverance is really important. I struggled alot to beat the gmat. I was so frustrated that I ended up using all GMAT sources (Kaplan, Manhattan, Targetprep, VertiasPrep, etc.). In retrospect, this wasn't a productive approach.
Since you ve used almost every book out there, do you have any suggestions about 650+ quant strategies? I got lost with all the material and didnt know what to pick up or not in 14 days, but Kaplan didn't feel like it was helping me with the medium-hard questions

Quote:
I would recommend Manhattan GMAT for Verbal.
Honestly i didn't had the time to study for verbal besides the first 7 chapter of Manhattan SC in a day and solve like 30 SC questions so i will make sure to focus on these books primarily for verbal. But my main anxiety is the quant, even though i am not a native speaker. I do enjoy reading books in English, thanks to mr Abercrombie i have been reading 800 page books for quite some time so i think i can pick the verbal part up faster in comparison to quant.

I took my exam o the 13th of May and now i try to relax a bit. I dont want to stay inactive for too long. Do yo think i should start reading in like a week? take more time off the stuff? Read from the scratch everything or solely focus on my weaknesses? Do i start from quant and stay there until i master it no matter how long it takes? The study hours should be max 4 hours a day?

Those are the things that go through my mind. Thanks again for your time guys, i really appreciate it.

Post Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:26 pm
There's a major mistake in your study process:

Quote:
Honestly i didn't had the time to study for verbal besides the first 7 chapter of Manhattan SC in a day
This is probably because you thought you were doing better in Quant than Verbal, right? Well, that's not actually true! Percentiles are misleading - you should ignore them completely.

Business schools don't care about your percentiles. They only care about your 0-51 subscores. More here: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2016/02/11/heres-why-you-may-be-misinterpreting-your-gmat-score/

If you're aiming for top program, you should aim for a 45+ on Quant, 38+ on Verbal. Generally (with allowances for slight variations), you want to aim for 85 total points to get a 700.

Quote:
I was 55th percentile in the quant and 63th in verbal.
Based on your percentiles, I'm guessing that you were at a 43 Quant, 31 Verbal? That's only 2 points away from a decent Quant score, but 7 points away from a decent Verbal score.

You need to spend some real time studying verbal - you can't just focus on the Quant. What was your breakdown on the actual test?

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EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education


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Post Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:29 pm
Also, I think you've identified an important piece of the puzzle:

Quote:
I panicked. Anxiety got to me like hell. If i failed in the exam i would miss the deadline of the University( RSM by the way). I focused on quant till the test date was due. i tried to sleep early, i was with 4 hours sleep the day before but guys and girls i couldn't. 10 pm laying in my bed and up until 3 am no sleep. In the end 4 hours of sleep was a luxury. Got to the exam center, anxiety through the roof and started the test.
Anxiety can be debilitating on a test like this, unless you learn how to manage and channel it.

Here are some resources that might help you to reframe your thinking around test taking & anxiety:

http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2013/05/09/stressed-out-meditate-to-lower-your-anxiety-and-boost-your-gmat-score/

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2009/11/27/techniques-for-managing-gmat-stress/

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2012/01/03/stress-management/

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2014/04/09/my-score-dropped-figuring-out-what-went-wrong-2/


Another thing that students often don't think about, but which can have a huge impact: decision fatigue. When you've made dozens of decisions in a row (as on a GMAT exam), it depletes your ability to make new decisions. One way to combat that - eat something! Increasing blood glucose has been proven to counteract decision fatigue.

“Even the wisest people won’t make good choices when they’re not rested and their glucose is low,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?_r=0

_________________


Ceilidh Erickson
Manhattan Prep GMAT & GRE instructor
EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education


Manhattan Prep instructors all have 99th+ percentile scores and expert teaching experience.
Sign up for a FREE TRIAL, and learn why we have the highest ratings in the GMAT industry!

Free Manhattan Prep online events - The first class of every online Manhattan Prep course is free. Classes start every week.
Marty Murray Legendary Member
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Post Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:26 pm
Hi GarisD.

The truth is that you went into the test without really having trained for it in any solid way. You had holes in your skill set, and you didn't get much sleep the night before. If you had seen questions that fit your skill set and if you were feeling better, maybe you would have scored higher.

Whatever. There's nothing to be "devastated" about and there is no mystery here. You just have to train better and make your game more solid in all aspects. In fact, given your practice test scores, you don't have that far to go to get to your score goal, and much of the move up can be made by getting better at verbal.

You use the word "study" and my sense of what you have done has involved too much "studying" and not enough learning to hack your way to answers. In the end, all Kaplan, Target Test Prep and all those other resources can do is to give you ideas, but the questions you will see on the test will not be exactly like those anyone explains how to do. So beyond studying, you have to get good at just plain figuring out how to get to answers. People who score high on the GMAT tend to be less worried about applying methods for answering questions and more concerned with coming up with quick ways to get to answers.

So to score higher on both quant and verbal, yes, you have to go over things topic by topic, working through questions slowly and learning how to apply methods or come up with ways to get right answers.

Whatever resources you use, don't be an explanation junkie, thinking that if you just learn enough methods and read enough explanations you will learn to rock the GMAT. You have to DEVELOP SKILL in working your way to answers, whether finding an answer means using a method that you have learned or just plain hacking the question somehow.

If you need some more categorized quant questions you could sign up for a free GMAT practice account here. http://bellcurves.com.

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Post Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:32 am
GarisD wrote:
Dear fellow members,

It is heartbreaking to expect a decent score and hit rock bottom. But let me start from the beginning.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Picking up my pieces 3 months later i decided to give it a try. I knew it would be a really hard task since i couldnt even concentrate for 10 minutes straight to something, but i gave it a try anyway. The score i needed for the master of my choice would be a minimum of 600, ideally a 680 to be safe. I purchased the Official Guide, the Kaplan with the 5 online tests and borrowed the manhattan series from my cousin. I did the first test and got 590. I was a little disappointed but i thought to myself " Look, whining will get you nowhere, sit your ass down and you ll get there. One step at a time". So i did.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

So, any thoughts and advice guys.. Thanks..
Well from my experience kaplan quant is way too easy they give scores very liberally. I scored in 700s but never in other tests(Mgmat, veritas etc) and My official gmat is close to Other tests and very far from that of kaplans. Go for some other tests to measure your performance.

mgmat tests are to hard for quant(but good for learning concepts) and OK for verbal.

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