• Varsity Tutors
    Award-winning private GMAT tutoring
    Register now and save up to $200

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Varsity Tutors
  • Target Test Prep
    5-Day Free Trial
    5-day free, full-access trial TTP Quant

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Target Test Prep
  • PrepScholar GMAT
    5 Day FREE Trial
    Study Smarter, Not Harder

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    PrepScholar GMAT
  • EMPOWERgmat Slider
    1 Hour Free
    BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    EMPOWERgmat Slider
  • Kaplan Test Prep
    Free Practice Test & Review
    How would you score if you took the GMAT

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Kaplan Test Prep
  • Economist Test Prep
    Free Trial & Practice Exam
    BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Economist Test Prep
  • Magoosh
    Magoosh
    Study with Magoosh GMAT prep

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Magoosh
  • e-gmat Exclusive Offer
    Get 300+ Practice Questions
    25 Video lessons and 6 Webinars for FREE

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    e-gmat Exclusive Offer
  • Veritas Prep
    Free Veritas GMAT Class
    Experience Lesson 1 Live Free

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Veritas Prep

GMAT Journey so far - Advice on next steps

This topic has 1 expert reply and 3 member replies
Zain Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
12 Mar 2015
Posted:
8 messages

GMAT Journey so far - Advice on next steps

Post Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:24 pm
Hello,

Looking for advice on next steps. Below has been my journey thus far.

Test 1 (Manhattan): 2/14/2016 Score 510 (Q29, V31)
Test 2 (Manhattan): 3/27/2016 Score 530 (Q38, V26)
Test 3 (Princeton Review): 4/17/2016 Score 530 (Q34, V29)
Test 4: GMAT Prep 1: 5/29/2016 Score 600 (Q36, V26)
Test 5: GMAT Prep 2: 6/5/2016 Score 580 (Q35, V35)
Official Test: 6/13/2016 Score 550 (Q36, V30)
MGMAT CAT #3: 8/1/2016 Score 540 (Q37, V28)
MGMAT CAT #4: 8/28/2016 Score 600 (Q39, V34)
GMAT Prep #3: 9/5/2016 Score 610 (Q38, V36)
GMAT Prep #4: 10/3/2016 Score 660 (Q42, V39)
GMAT Prep #5: 10/16/2016 Score 680 (Q42, V41)
Official Test #2: 10/19/2016 Score 600 (Q40, V30)

I started studying for the GMAT around March of this year. I’ve finished the MGMAT online class and been through most of their books. I’ve taken the Official Test twice (June and October). I had started using TTP a little bit before my first test and have been using it a lot more recently. After the first test, I purchased the e-GMAT SC course and, recently, the PowerScore GMAT CR Bible. Verbal has been the weaker section throughout. All study materials have been helpful, I think. I’ve received great support from both platforms (TTP and e-Gmat) and I would highly recommend them. Once the GMAT is over with, I will definitely write more about both of these platforms and the awesome people on this forum (Marty).

After MGMAT CAT#3, I started using 800score Verbal sections to try and lift my verbal section. All of my efforts were paying off prior to test day. SC was a major concern as my sub section score on the first official test was around 25 I think. On the last few I was in the higher 30s. Perhaps I was continually getting lucky on these tests? One thing to note is that I was not doing the essay with these tests but I did the IR and obviously the Quant and Verbal under the official test and break times. On the second test, I remember that I had to hurry through the last 13 or 14 questions because I had run out of time. This wasn’t completely unusual for me but definitely not this bad, I might have had to rush through the last 8-9 questions before (still not good). Nonetheless, I was devastated to see that score. I’d been working really hard and I figured I’d drop 20-30 points on the real thing but this was a huge swing. I cancelled the scores and here we are almost a week later and now I am trying to evaluate my options.

I had scheduled the next test date (11/14/2016) prior to this last one in hopes of potentially increasing my score after my second attempt. I figured I have more attempts at my disposal and showing progression would probably be good for my application. I can’t take vacation days to take tests so the only time I can take more practice tests would be on the weekends. I need at least 650 to be competitive at the programs I want to apply to. I want to apply in Round 2 and I’ve got a couple of busy weeks coming up. Now I can’t really decide on what specifically to focus on in the next few weeks.

So a few questions for the experts:
• Is it common to see a huge swing like I saw on the official test?
• How do I reset quickly and try and at least score a bit higher than my official score (2nd test)?
• Any pointers on how to improve timing on verbal and improve stamina, overall, for the test?

Thank you in advance!

Need free GMAT or MBA advice from an expert? Register for Beat The GMAT now and post your question in these forums!
Marty Murray Legendary Member
Joined
03 Feb 2014
Posted:
2037 messages
Followed by:
129 members
Thanked:
946 times
GMAT Score:
800
Post Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:47 pm
Hi Zain.

When someone sees big swings in score levels usually one of a few things is going on.

In verbal, often people have methods that have little flaws in them, and those flaws can match up or not match up with the questions a person sees on the test.

If the methods match up in a certain way with the questions the person sees, the person may score rather high on verbal. If the methods match up another way, the person can get smoked right and left, all the while thinking he is going to score high, because he is doing a great job of using his methods.

However, while that type of issue is something you might keep in mind, that type of thing does not seem to be a significant factor in your situation, as your practice tests show steady and increasing verbal scores.

On the other hand, timing does seem to be an issue, one that seems to have somehow been exacerbated when you took the actual GMAT. So clearly you have to work on timing.

Consider the results you might see from working on timing in verbal. Given that you have been consistently running out of time, your scores have not fully reflected your analytical skills, as in taking tests you likely have dropped from your high toward the end of the verbal section. In the last several questions 45 has dropped to 41, 38 has dropped to 32 and so on.

So key for you seems to be figuring out ways to speed up your processing of verbal questions.

One thing that will likely help is analyzing your processes as you do verbal practice questions. When you do CR questions are you reading the question first, meaning that basically you have to read it twice? If so maybe try cutting out that step and seeing what happens. In RC, you don't need to remember every detail. Rather you have to get the gist of a passage and notice where the details lie, in order to find them to confirm your answer choices. So in doing RC practice questions you could see whether you could read through details more quickly, prioritizing remembering where they are over remembering what exactly they are.

With that in mind, are you using up time in RC looking for the right information in passages? Maybe you could get better at noting where key things lie in the passages, so that you can find them faster and save time.

There are myriad other things you could try, observing yourself and what you do to find ways to become more efficient.

Ten seconds here and ten seconds there will add up to minutes.

I am sure you can get more ideas by doing internet searches on things like "how to speed up in GMAT verbal".

Of course, practice makes perfect, and so practice doing questions as fast as you can while STILL GETTING THEM RIGHT. Be intense - "I have to get this done in 1:48" intense - learning to push yourself to the max to get the max performance and speed out of yourself.

Obviously, taking more verbal CATs could help too. Each time you take one, see how far you can get before you have to start guessing and seek to make that point further and further into the 41 questions, until ideally you would get through all or close to all of them in the allotted 75 minutes.

On another note, something else jumped out at me from your post.

"I figured I’d drop 20-30 points on the real thing"

While I understand that your most recent practice test had been you high score to date, and so a little drop might make sense, something about what you said still sounds suspicious, as if you don't expect to perform at your best on test day. If your mindset is in fact that way, maybe that expectation is part of what caused your score drop. Rather than thinking that by being careful and intense you might match or beat your high practice test score, maybe you went into the test not really mentally set up to rock the thing.

So there is something to be aware of and to consider when you are taking practice tests and otherwise preparing. Play the test like a video game, and notice that how hard you play and your psychology can make a big difference in the outcome.

Clearly you can push your verbal score, and overall score, up, and keep them at your goal level on test day. Just keep up the intensity, expect to win and figure out ways to improve your game.

There is always another move you can make to deal with whatever issues you are encountering and make your score go up.

Enjoy the game!!!

_________________
Marty Murray
GMAT Coach
m.w.murray@hotmail.com
http://infinitemindprep.com/
In Person in the New York Area and Online Worldwide

Thanked by: dayoajayi, Zain
Post Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:10 am
Hi Zain,

As usual, Marty gave you some great advice. Furthermore, why don't you and I talk again today or tomorrow, and we'll work together to see what we can come up with. This test is not easy for anyone. You're a super smart guy. You've succeeded in your personal and professional life. You're going to succeed on the GMAT. You have a lot of support. Don't give up, man!

Very Best,

Scott

Thanked by: dayoajayi, Zain
Zain Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
12 Mar 2015
Posted:
8 messages
Post Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:59 pm
Marty Murray wrote:
Hi Zain.

When someone sees big swings in score levels usually one of a few things is going on.

In verbal, often people have methods that have little flaws in them, and those flaws can match up or not match up with the questions a person sees on the test.

If the methods match up in a certain way with the questions the person sees, the person may score rather high on verbal. If the methods match up another way, the person can get smoked right and left, all the while thinking he is going to score high, because he is doing a great job of using his methods.

However, while that type of issue is something you might keep in mind, that type of thing does not seem to be a significant factor in your situation, as your practice tests show steady and increasing verbal scores.

On the other hand, timing does seem to be an issue, one that seems to have somehow been exacerbated when you took the actual GMAT. So clearly you have to work on timing.

Consider the results you might see from working on timing in verbal. Given that you have been consistently running out of time, your scores have not fully reflected your analytical skills, as in taking tests you likely have dropped from your high toward the end of the verbal section. In the last several questions 45 has dropped to 41, 38 has dropped to 32 and so on.

So key for you seems to be figuring out ways to speed up your processing of verbal questions.

One thing that will likely help is analyzing your processes as you do verbal practice questions. When you do CR questions are you reading the question first, meaning that basically you have to read it twice? If so maybe try cutting out that step and seeing what happens. In RC, you don't need to remember every detail. Rather you have to get the gist of a passage and notice where the details lie, in order to find them to confirm your answer choices. So in doing RC practice questions you could see whether you could read through details more quickly, prioritizing remembering where they are over remembering what exactly they are.

With that in mind, are you using up time in RC looking for the right information in passages? Maybe you could get better at noting where key things lie in the passages, so that you can find them faster and save time.

There are myriad other things you could try, observing yourself and what you do to find ways to become more efficient.

Ten seconds here and ten seconds there will add up to minutes.

I am sure you can get more ideas by doing internet searches on things like "how to speed up in GMAT verbal".

Of course, practice makes perfect, and so practice doing questions as fast as you can while STILL GETTING THEM RIGHT. Be intense - "I have to get this done in 1:48" intense - learning to push yourself to the max to get the max performance and speed out of yourself.

Obviously, taking more verbal CATs could help too. Each time you take one, see how far you can get before you have to start guessing and seek to make that point further and further into the 41 questions, until ideally you would get through all or close to all of them in the allotted 75 minutes.

On another note, something else jumped out at me from your post.

"I figured I’d drop 20-30 points on the real thing"

While I understand that your most recent practice test had been you high score to date, and so a little drop might make sense, something about what you said still sounds suspicious, as if you don't expect to perform at your best on test day. If your mindset is in fact that way, maybe that expectation is part of what caused your score drop. Rather than thinking that by being careful and intense you might match or beat your high practice test score, maybe you went into the test not really mentally set up to rock the thing.

So there is something to be aware of and to consider when you are taking practice tests and otherwise preparing. Play the test like a video game, and notice that how hard you play and your psychology can make a big difference in the outcome.

Clearly you can push your verbal score, and overall score, up, and keep them at your goal level on test day. Just keep up the intensity, expect to win and figure out ways to improve your game.

There is always another move you can make to deal with whatever issues you are encountering and make your score go up.

Enjoy the game!!!
Marty,

Once again, I think you've hit the issue right on the head on several factors. Efficiency is key and I don't believe I've been efficient on verbal thus far. My practice scores show that I can, in fact, score higher than what I scored on the test day but I need to be able to produce the results on test day. I think part of the reason why I said that I expected my score to drop was because of the sheer amount of posts I've seen about how people see a drop on test day. I thought I was mentally preparing myself by expecting that, but that could be part of the problem. Albeit, I think timing is more important right now. As you can see from the ESR, the last third or so killed my score. Even if it was in the higher 30s (which would've been okay). https://www.dropbox.com/s/2f9afsv710xm7rn/Screenshot%202016-10-29%2017.55.24.png?dl=0 .
SC timing needs to be improved drastically as well https://www.dropbox.com/s/vbenrgxv7xtxh7h/Screenshot%202016-10-29%2017.56.20.png?dl=0

Thank you for the insightful post, I will get back to work and report back with positive results soon.

Zain

Zain Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
12 Mar 2015
Posted:
8 messages
Post Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:02 pm
Scott@TargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi Zain,

As usual, Marty gave you some great advice. Furthermore, why don't you and I talk again today or tomorrow, and we'll work together to see what we can come up with. This test is not easy for anyone. You're a super smart guy. You've succeeded in your personal and professional life. You're going to succeed on the GMAT. You have a lot of support. Don't give up, man!

Very Best,

Scott
Scott,

I appreciate the words of encouragement and I can definitely agree with your statement about the fact that this is test isn't easy. Maybe for some but not for the majority of people. Nonetheless, I plan to continue the fight. Work schedule has gotten intense lately but I will give you a call this week if that works. Once again, thank you for the support!

Zain

Best Conversation Starters

1 Vincen 180 topics
2 lheiannie07 61 topics
3 Roland2rule 61 topics
4 ardz24 40 topics
5 VJesus12 14 topics
See More Top Beat The GMAT Members...

Most Active Experts

1 image description Brent@GMATPrepNow

GMAT Prep Now Teacher

160 posts
2 image description Rich.C@EMPOWERgma...

EMPOWERgmat

102 posts
3 image description GMATGuruNY

The Princeton Review Teacher

99 posts
4 image description Jay@ManhattanReview

Manhattan Review

86 posts
5 image description Matt@VeritasPrep

Veritas Prep

80 posts
See More Top Beat The GMAT Experts