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Advice needed - Apply with 610 or try harder?

This topic has 4 expert replies and 4 member replies
samdighe16 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
23 Apr 2015
Posted:
5 messages
Thanked:
1 times

Advice needed - Apply with 610 or try harder?

Post Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:42 am
Hello all,

I have given GMAT 4 times until now (in terms of effort, 3 times since the 1st attempt was given without a single day of studying). My scores are as follows - 440, 550 (Q37 V28), 610 (Q43 V31) and 590 (Q40 V31). The last attempt of 590 was yesterday. Needless to say, I cancelled my score.
In each of my last 3 attempts, I wasn’t surprised with my score since it was proportional to my efforts as well as what I had scored in my mocks. In fact, I hadn’t even given sufficient mocks in the last 3 attempts.

In 2015 when I had got a 550, I had joined a physical coaching class in my city. I studied sincerely but my prep was not focussed (more of quantity than quality). Also, I realised that the book heavy approach was not for me. Last year in 2016, when I had got a 610, I had subscribed to EMPOWERgmat. I was quite happy with the course (especially Quant), but I will admit that I didn’t complete the course and did not take full advantage of it.

This time I hired a private tutor (Kalyan Chamarthi) for online one on one sessions. Started my sessions from the start of July. I am pretty happy with his coaching and I must admit that he really pushed me. I studied really hard, practised a lot of questions (only from OGs), maintained an error log, analysed my mistakes properly, gave 6 mock tests. Basically, followed a proper study plan. Plus having scored 680 & 670 in mocks, I feel a score of 590 is surely not in line and that I can do much better than that.

My mock test scores were as follows:
    Mock 1 - 520 (Q36 V25) - 30th Aug, 2017 (GMATPrep Default EP)
    Mock 2 - 630 (Q44 V 32) - 11th Sep, 2017 (GMATPrep Default EP-Reset, so I did see a few repeat questions)
    Mock 3 - 600 (Q42 V31) - 16th Sep, 2017 (GMATPrep EP 1)
    Then I practised for 2.5 weeks before taking the next mock and my score did increase
    Mock 4 - 680 (Q48 V35) - 4th Oct, 2017 (GMATPrep EP 1)
    Mock 5 - 670 (Q45 V37) - 7th Oct, 2017 (GMATPrep EP 2)
    Mock 6 - 640 (Q48 V30) - 10th Oct 2017 (GMATPrep EP 1-Reset, so I did see a few repeat questions)


OGs completed - Quant (half OG 10 and 3/4th OG 2016), SC (OG 11 & OG 10 & half OG 12), RC (OG 11 and 3/4th OG 2016), CR (OG 11 & OG 2016)

Exam day performance - I was feeling pretty relaxed and confident. I started the test with Verbal. Honestly, I found verbal questions to be slightly tougher than the one in mocks and OG. I had to slightly rush towards the last 5 or 6 qs (That has always been my problem in both the sections). But it wasn’t that I randomly guessed on all 5 or 6.
Quant, I found to be much easier than what I have faced in mocks. In fact, I found the quant in mocks tougher compared to OG. So, I was also wondering that how come I am getting easy questions (or so I thought). Again I had to rush slightly in the last 5-6 questions. However, one big mistake that I did was, when I reached the last qs, I had 1 minute left. Just when I finished solving it and was about to hit submit, the time got over. So, I don’t know if I got penalised because of this.

I have literally poured money on the preparation of this exam. In fact, I would like to mention that I have also taken a sabbatical from my job since mid-August for preparation of GMAT. GMAT has taken a toll on me financially as well as emotionally.

So, I am really confused now as to how much more should I try. I am going to speak to my tutor after a couple of days since he is out of town.

I have to anyhow apply this year in R2. Do you all think I should retake? If yes, then by when do you think I should give my GMAT? Ideally, I aim to get into top 25 US schools or the top 2-3 Canadian schools - My target score is 700, but then if I don't retake then I know I won't be able to target those schools with a 610. I sincerely need your advice as to what different should I do (I am literally clueless right now!!).

Btw, I am from India (30 years, Non-IT male, Real estate sales background)

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Post Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:34 am
samdighe16 wrote:
Hello all,

I have given GMAT 4 times until now (in terms of effort, 3 times since the 1st attempt was given without a single day of studying). My scores are as follows - 440, 550 (Q37 V28), 610 (Q43 V31) and 590 (Q40 V31). The last attempt of 590 was yesterday. Needless to say, I cancelled my score.
In each of my last 3 attempts, I wasn’t surprised with my score since it was proportional to my efforts as well as what I had scored in my mocks. In fact, I hadn’t even given sufficient mocks in the last 3 attempts.

In 2015 when I had got a 550, I had joined a physical coaching class in my city. I studied sincerely but my prep was not focussed (more of quantity than quality). Also, I realised that the book heavy approach was not for me. Last year in 2016, when I had got a 610, I had subscribed to EMPOWERgmat. I was quite happy with the course (especially Quant), but I will admit that I didn’t complete the course and did not take full advantage of it.

This time I hired a private tutor (Kalyan Chamarthi) for online one on one sessions. Started my sessions from the start of July. I am pretty happy with his coaching and I must admit that he really pushed me. I studied really hard, practised a lot of questions (only from OGs), maintained an error log, analysed my mistakes properly, gave 6 mock tests. Basically, followed a proper study plan. Plus having scored 680 & 670 in mocks, I feel a score of 590 is surely not in line and that I can do much better than that.

My mock test scores were as follows:
    Mock 1 - 520 (Q36 V25) - 30th Aug, 2017 (GMATPrep Default EP)
    Mock 2 - 630 (Q44 V 32) - 11th Sep, 2017 (GMATPrep Default EP-Reset, so I did see a few repeat questions)
    Mock 3 - 600 (Q42 V31) - 16th Sep, 2017 (GMATPrep EP 1)
    Then I practised for 2.5 weeks before taking the next mock and my score did increase
    Mock 4 - 680 (Q48 V35) - 4th Oct, 2017 (GMATPrep EP 1)
    Mock 5 - 670 (Q45 V37) - 7th Oct, 2017 (GMATPrep EP 2)
    Mock 6 - 640 (Q48 V30) - 10th Oct 2017 (GMATPrep EP 1-Reset, so I did see a few repeat questions)


OGs completed - Quant (half OG 10 and 3/4th OG 2016), SC (OG 11 & OG 10 & half OG 12), RC (OG 11 and 3/4th OG 2016), CR (OG 11 & OG 2016)

Exam day performance - I was feeling pretty relaxed and confident. I started the test with Verbal. Honestly, I found verbal questions to be slightly tougher than the one in mocks and OG. I had to slightly rush towards the last 5 or 6 qs (That has always been my problem in both the sections). But it wasn’t that I randomly guessed on all 5 or 6.
Quant, I found to be much easier than what I have faced in mocks. In fact, I found the quant in mocks tougher compared to OG. So, I was also wondering that how come I am getting easy questions (or so I thought). Again I had to rush slightly in the last 5-6 questions. However, one big mistake that I did was, when I reached the last qs, I had 1 minute left. Just when I finished solving it and was about to hit submit, the time got over. So, I don’t know if I got penalised because of this.

I have literally poured money on the preparation of this exam. In fact, I would like to mention that I have also taken a sabbatical from my job since mid-August for preparation of GMAT. GMAT has taken a toll on me financially as well as emotionally.

So, I am really confused now as to how much more should I try. I am going to speak to my tutor after a couple of days since he is out of town.

I have to anyhow apply this year in R2. Do you all think I should retake? If yes, then by when do you think I should give my GMAT? Ideally, I aim to get into top 25 US schools or the top 2-3 Canadian schools - My target score is 700, but then if I don't retake then I know I won't be able to target those schools with a 610. I sincerely need your advice as to what different should I do (I am literally clueless right now!!).

Btw, I am from India (30 years, Non-IT male, Real estate sales background)
There's really no reason not to give the test another shot. You noted that you had to rush through the last 5-6 questions of each section, and the fact that quant felt easier than your earlier exams virtually guarantees that you made some careless mistakes on some questions that the algorithm deemed easier.. If nothing else, if you're able to master the timing and root out some careless mistakes, you'll be much closer to your goal score. I'll leave the specifics for you to work out with your tutor, but a couple of general suggestions:

1) You mentioned that the test is taking an emotional toll. This, coupled with the gap between your practice exams and your official tests suggests that there's a pretty powerful psychological component at play. You might want to consider incorporating some mindfulness meditation before your next attempt: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/05/study-meditation-improves-memory-attention/275564/

2) A few of your practice tests involved resetting an old exam: don't do this going forward. The time you save on familiar questions creates an artificial benefit that won't be duplicated on test day. This might partially account for the timing troubles you've experienced.

_________________
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Post Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:07 pm
Hi samdighe16,

I'm sorry to hear 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 when you took 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) Before this most recent attempt, you had taken the GMAT 3 times before. You've noted the CATs that were 'resets', but are those really the only ones that you took more than once? Had you seen any of the questions on any of those CATs BEFORE (in a forum, practice sets, etc.)?

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

samdighe16 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
23 Apr 2015
Posted:
5 messages
Thanked:
1 times
Post Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:32 pm
Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com wrote:
Hi samdighe16,

I'm sorry to hear 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 when you took 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) Before this most recent attempt, you had taken the GMAT 3 times before. You've noted the CATs that were 'resets', but are those really the only ones that you took more than once? Had you seen any of the questions on any of those CATs BEFORE (in a forum, practice sets, etc.)?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
Hey Rich,
Thanks for the revert. Here are my replies.
1) No. Simply because now that we can choose the order of the sections, I started the actual exam with Verbal followed by Quant, IR and AWA. In my mocks also, I started with the same order except that I skipped IR & AWA. In fact, this is what my tutor suggested me to do. I understand this was not acceptable earlier because our brains need to get trained to handle the mental drain that AWA & IR will cause before we even start with the important sections of Quant and Verbal. But why should this be a problem now?
2) Yes, I took them at home. But I kept it as realistic as possible. I wasn't in my comfy home clothes but I wore what I would be wearing for the real exam. I even wore earphones during the mocks.
3)My actual exam started at 5 pm. I did not take the mocks at the exact same time but I took all of them in the evening @ times between 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm
4) No. What I ate, what I drank, the break time was exactly as per the real exam. Except as mentioned before I did not take IR and AWA.
5) There were just 2 resets from the 6 mocks I took before the real exam (the scores were 630 and 640 respectively). And yes I did see a few repeat questions on them. Surprisingly, my highest scores of 680 and 670 were not resets. So except for the 2 resets, I did not see any repeat questions at all.

One thing I would like to point out Rich is a pattern that I noticed in my last 3 attempts, which includes the one this year. In 2015 when I scored 550, I had taken 2 weeks leave from office. Last year in 2016, when I got 610, I had not taken a single day leave. And this year when I scored 590, I took a 2.5 months sabbatical from my job. In both 2015 and this year, since I wasn't working, GMAT was the only thing on my mind and it made me very stressed. I had stopped all other activities during the respective leave/sabbatical. On some nights, I wasn't able to sleep. Whereas last year, I was not that stressed, I continued my daily routine and I guess that showed in the score.



Last edited by samdighe16 on Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:08 pm; edited 1 time in total

samdighe16 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
23 Apr 2015
Posted:
5 messages
Thanked:
1 times
Post Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:47 pm
DavidG@VeritasPrep wrote:
samdighe16 wrote:
Hello all,

I have given GMAT 4 times until now (in terms of effort, 3 times since the 1st attempt was given without a single day of studying). My scores are as follows - 440, 550 (Q37 V28), 610 (Q43 V31) and 590 (Q40 V31). The last attempt of 590 was yesterday. Needless to say, I cancelled my score.
In each of my last 3 attempts, I wasn’t surprised with my score since it was proportional to my efforts as well as what I had scored in my mocks. In fact, I hadn’t even given sufficient mocks in the last 3 attempts.

In 2015 when I had got a 550, I had joined a physical coaching class in my city. I studied sincerely but my prep was not focussed (more of quantity than quality). Also, I realised that the book heavy approach was not for me. Last year in 2016, when I had got a 610, I had subscribed to EMPOWERgmat. I was quite happy with the course (especially Quant), but I will admit that I didn’t complete the course and did not take full advantage of it.

This time I hired a private tutor (Kalyan Chamarthi) for online one on one sessions. Started my sessions from the start of July. I am pretty happy with his coaching and I must admit that he really pushed me. I studied really hard, practised a lot of questions (only from OGs), maintained an error log, analysed my mistakes properly, gave 6 mock tests. Basically, followed a proper study plan. Plus having scored 680 & 670 in mocks, I feel a score of 590 is surely not in line and that I can do much better than that.

My mock test scores were as follows:
    Mock 1 - 520 (Q36 V25) - 30th Aug, 2017 (GMATPrep Default EP)
    Mock 2 - 630 (Q44 V 32) - 11th Sep, 2017 (GMATPrep Default EP-Reset, so I did see a few repeat questions)
    Mock 3 - 600 (Q42 V31) - 16th Sep, 2017 (GMATPrep EP 1)
    Then I practised for 2.5 weeks before taking the next mock and my score did increase
    Mock 4 - 680 (Q48 V35) - 4th Oct, 2017 (GMATPrep EP 1)
    Mock 5 - 670 (Q45 V37) - 7th Oct, 2017 (GMATPrep EP 2)
    Mock 6 - 640 (Q48 V30) - 10th Oct 2017 (GMATPrep EP 1-Reset, so I did see a few repeat questions)


OGs completed - Quant (half OG 10 and 3/4th OG 2016), SC (OG 11 & OG 10 & half OG 12), RC (OG 11 and 3/4th OG 2016), CR (OG 11 & OG 2016)

Exam day performance - I was feeling pretty relaxed and confident. I started the test with Verbal. Honestly, I found verbal questions to be slightly tougher than the one in mocks and OG. I had to slightly rush towards the last 5 or 6 qs (That has always been my problem in both the sections). But it wasn’t that I randomly guessed on all 5 or 6.
Quant, I found to be much easier than what I have faced in mocks. In fact, I found the quant in mocks tougher compared to OG. So, I was also wondering that how come I am getting easy questions (or so I thought). Again I had to rush slightly in the last 5-6 questions. However, one big mistake that I did was, when I reached the last qs, I had 1 minute left. Just when I finished solving it and was about to hit submit, the time got over. So, I don’t know if I got penalised because of this.

I have literally poured money on the preparation of this exam. In fact, I would like to mention that I have also taken a sabbatical from my job since mid-August for preparation of GMAT. GMAT has taken a toll on me financially as well as emotionally.

So, I am really confused now as to how much more should I try. I am going to speak to my tutor after a couple of days since he is out of town.

I have to anyhow apply this year in R2. Do you all think I should retake? If yes, then by when do you think I should give my GMAT? Ideally, I aim to get into top 25 US schools or the top 2-3 Canadian schools - My target score is 700, but then if I don't retake then I know I won't be able to target those schools with a 610. I sincerely need your advice as to what different should I do (I am literally clueless right now!!).

Btw, I am from India (30 years, Non-IT male, Real estate sales background)
There's really no reason not to give the test another shot. You noted that you had to rush through the last 5-6 questions of each section, and the fact that quant felt easier than your earlier exams virtually guarantees that you made some careless mistakes on some questions that the algorithm deemed easier.. If nothing else, if you're able to master the timing and root out some careless mistakes, you'll be much closer to your goal score. I'll leave the specifics for you to work out with your tutor, but a couple of general suggestions:

1) You mentioned that the test is taking an emotional toll. This, coupled with the gap between your practice exams and your official tests suggests that there's a pretty powerful psychological component at play. You might want to consider incorporating some mindfulness meditation before your next attempt: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/05/study-meditation-improves-memory-attention/275564/

2) A few of your practice tests involved resetting an old exam: don't do this going forward. The time you save on familiar questions creates an artificial benefit that won't be duplicated on test day. This might partially account for the timing troubles you've experienced.
Hey David,

Thanks for the revert. Yes, I don't want to give up but what I was wondering is what different should I do this time. I completely agree with your timing and the careless errors part. And also, I feel the same that I must have made some terrible silly mistakes in Math because I am very confident that my skill/ability level is not that low in Quant. I am pretty confident about scoring a 45+ in Quant.

I will surely look into the meditation technique you shared. In fact, I was meditating regularly for the 2-3 weeks before the exam.

I understand that resetting makes you see repeat questions but then please advise what should be done once I am done with the all the GMATPrep tests including the EP1 and EP2 which is the case now. Honestly, I am not that keen on using 3rd party CATs simply because I have been advised and I feel it is best to stick to official questions as much as possible.

Also, I would mention the pattern that I have noticed. I have mentioned the same in my reply to Rich above.

In 2015 when I scored 550, I had taken 2 weeks leave from office. Last year in 2016, when I got 610, I had not taken a single day leave. And this year when I scored 590, I took a 2.5 months sabbatical from my job. In both 2015 and this year, since I wasn't working, GMAT was the only thing on my mind and it made me very stressed. I had stopped all other activities during the respective leave/sabbatical. On some nights, I wasn't able to sleep. Whereas last year, I was not that stressed, I continued my daily routine and I guess that showed in the score.

Post Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:06 am
Hi samdighe16,

From your prior post, there were some 'red flags' in terms of how you've been taking your CATs. Before we discuss those points though, I have a few additional questions about the lead-up to Test Day and Test Day itself:

1) What did you do in the 3 days before your GMAT?
2) How did you sleep the night before your Test?
3) How long was the ride to the Test Center from your home?
4) Were there any distractions at the facility or during the Test?
5) What did you do during the two 8-minute breaks?
6) Did you finish any sections early?
7) Did you have to rush to finish any sections (and guess on questions just to finish on time)?

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

samdighe16 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
23 Apr 2015
Posted:
5 messages
Thanked:
1 times
Post Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:40 pm
Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com wrote:
Hi samdighe16,

From your prior post, there were some 'red flags' in terms of how you've been taking your CATs. Before we discuss those points though, I have a few additional questions about the lead-up to Test Day and Test Day itself:

1) What did you do in the 3 days before your GMAT?
2) How did you sleep the night before your Test?
3) How long was the ride to the Test Center from your home?
4) Were there any distractions at the facility or during the Test?
5) What did you do during the two 8-minute breaks?
6) Did you finish any sections early?
7) Did you have to rush to finish any sections (and guess on questions just to finish on time)?

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

Below are my answers:

1) Nothing extraordinary. I studied for a few hours about 3 hours each day, basically practised questions from each topic. However, I stopped studying at 7.30 pm on Sunday evening i.e. 1 day before the test (My test was at 5 pm on Monday evening).
2) To be honest, I was not able to sleep properly till 4.30 am in spite of taking a sleeping pill given by my physician (for 3 days prior to the exam). However, post that I slept nicely for about 7.5 to 8 hrs. Before having a light lunch at 2.40 pm, I again had a 1-hour power nap. So in short, I was completely alert and fresh before the exam.
3) 15 minutes by cab. I listened to a couple of my fav tracks in the cab before I reached the centre.
4) Not at all. The only slight distraction was when I was taking the AWA section because that is when everyone else was also on the same section. So the small distraction was the keyboard sound of everyone typing together. But there was no distraction whatsoever during the Verbal and the Quant sections.
5) 1st break, I had a banana and some Gatorade and then went to the toilet. Before leaving the toilet, I also had a quick jog at the same spot, threw some punches in the air, whisper-shouted "C'mon" to myself and went back inside the testing room (I used to do the exact same thing during Mocks too). In the 2nd break, however, since I was very pissed with myself because of running out of time before I hit the submit button for the last qs of Quant, I just went to the toilet and came back to the testing room.
6) No, This scenario has never happened with me Razz
7) Yes. As mentioned in my initial post, I slightly had to rush during the last 4 to 5 qs on each section. So I would say, I was guessing, alternate qs during the last 4 to 5 qs.

Post Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:16 am
Quote:
I understand that resetting makes you see repeat questions but then please advise what should be done once I am done with the all the GMATPrep tests including the EP1 and EP2 which is the case now. Honestly, I am not that keen on using 3rd party CATs simply because I have been advised and I feel it is best to stick to official questions as much as possible.
Well, if you want to avoid 3rd party CATs, here's what I'd suggest. When you reset the GMATPrep exams, diligently do the following

1) Any time you see a repeat question, allow a full two minutes to tick off, even if you think you'd solve a similar problem quickly
2) If you're not 100% confident that you'd answer a variation of this question correctly on test day, intentionally get the question wrong, even if you know the answer. (after the exam, find a few dozen examples of this Q-type to practice on and master.)

If you're looking for more practice problems between exams, feel free to check out our Q-Bank: https://www.veritasprep.com/gmat/gmat-question-bank/

_________________
Veritas Prep | GMAT Instructor

Veritas Prep Reviews
Save $100 off any live Veritas Prep GMAT Course

Enroll in a Veritas Prep GMAT class completely for FREE. Wondering if a GMAT course is right for you? Attend the first class session of an actual GMAT course, either in-person or live online, and see for yourself why so many students choose to work with Veritas Prep. Find a class now!
Nunuboy1994 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
24 Oct 2017
Posted:
4 messages
Post Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:03 am
I'm sorry to hear that test day didn't go well- I would definitely retake the test as you have four more attempts and a 650+ could seriously get you where you want to go. I can also relate your situation because I am in a similar situation as you- I have sat for the GMAT 3 times: 470 Nov 2016, 580 Sept 2017, 610 Oct 2017. A 610 could get you into some decent schools and maybe some good schools but there are very few people who have gotten into top schools with that score and you never know what other factors went into their admission so its best to score as high as you can. There's plenty GMAT success stories of people going from 610 to 700+ so you really should try harder and the last test was probably just a fluke. If you really want to apply with a 610, though, some schools you could get into are Babson, Virginia Tech, UConn and possibly George Washington. But I'm pretty sure you can score higher than a 610 with four attempts left and really increase your odds of getting into even better schools than the ones listed.

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