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Panicked and scored 560 -- any suggestions/guidance ??

This topic has 4 member replies
nicktnd Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
08 Nov 2006
Posted:
3 messages

Panicked and scored 560 -- any suggestions/guidance ??

Post Wed Nov 08, 2006 1:18 am
Hi,
I have been reading this forum passively for quite some time and it's quite good. I will share my failure story. I gave my test last week(Nov4th) and got Q42, V25. I was scoring between 600 (800score) and 640 (GMATprep) on regular days. I knew I wouldn't score 700 on test day, but I was hoping to have a stronger concentration on test day and beat my best score at the last moment and achieve something between 650 & 680(I realize now that I was being impractical).
I'll brief about my experience and will appreciate suggestions/feedbacks from the group.

My Background
-------------------
I have 10+ years of experience in Engineering, Marketing & Sales(8+ in US top telecom and startup companies). I plan to pursue part time MBA in Berkley. I have done my Undergrad from India (B.E./B.S Computer Science) and part time/Distant learning M.S (Computer Science) from US . I have taken some Sales/Marketing course at Stanford School of Continuing education also.

Challenges
------------
1. I have a huge phobia for GMAT as I had screwed up (1630/2400) my GRE 8 years ago and some how have this mental block that I can't do well in G*** exams. I used to be excellent at studies in my High School (Scored 90.4% aggregate in CBSE board - for those from India will realize that it's a great score). I am very strong in Maths (I had scored 780/800 in GRE) and I believed that I would do well in Quants. However, I was SCARED about Verbal from day one and am still scared till now.
2. My work life was little disturbed for last 3-4 months and I thus decided to put my mind off from there and utilize that time preparting for GMAT instead of brooding about something that I don't have control over.

Preparation
--------------
I started with such negative feelings and thus always had at the back of my mind that I wouldn't score well. Ofcourse, not the right attitude and that's why I am here trying to seek advice. I started my preparation in Middle of July with OG10 and Kaplan. Kaplan tests were depressing and I scored 540/560 in the diagnostic. My friend's told me that Kaplan is tough and that I should add 50 marks margin. So, I was little relieved that I am starting from base 600, so hopefully I should be able to pull some where around 680+.
I had been out of touch of studies for so long and thus I needed LOT of time to just get back to the motion and get myself into study gear. After month and half efforts, I started to make some progress. I travel a lot for my work and thus bought all fancy Kaplan's Flash cards etc to prep myself while I am on the road. It worked for few days, but didn't last for very long. Later I came to know from my friends that Kaplan isn't great for preparation at all and that I should focus on OG11. I bought OG11 & OG Verbal guide. I just kept my focus on these two for last month and half and started to feel little confident. I gave 800score mockup tests and I got 600 in that. The quants in that used to be different than in OG (Not a lot, but they didn't emphasize on number problems that much, instead used to have lot tougher problems - atleast it seemed to me). I was getting 42 in Quants in that and Verbals - 27 to 32. I wasn't sure if that was a good gauge and thus ignored it's score. I gave GMATPrep and got 620 (At times I feel it's misleading because it has repeat questions from OG and if you get 3-4 repeated question in each section, the entire game plan changes -- this is what making me believe that I might have SCREWED in final day too -- not sure any comments???).
I tried to get a lot of discipline in my study and was able to give 2-3 hours a day on an average (some days 5-6 and some days 1-2) to my studies. I am not sure if I was doing concentrated study or not, but I surely I was doing something wrong as my final results convey.
I finished the OG-11 quants and infact did it twice. Not sure how much help you get in repeating it as half of the time you remember the questions at the back of your mind. Not sure how/what else to do to increase my score to 50 (I know I can do it, but just need the right guidance/tips). For verbal, I referred some grammar books to polish my basics and then did OG11 & OG verbal. I was getting 65-70% success ration in OG SC, CR, RC. But whenever I used to give full length exam, I could NEVER get over 37 (That is my best score till date). Doing OG second time was some help but not a lot as my success ratio improved to even 80%, but lot of those questions were in the back of my mind.
By the time my exam neared, I was over whelmed and frustrated and wanted to get over with the exam. I had some stressful days at work 10-12 days before the exam and infact wanted to push it out. Somehow I convinced myself that I can do it and work in that much distraction also. I took a week off before exam and continued my preparation. One area I MISSED badly was a strategy for last week and last couple of days. I had time with me, but didn't know how to utilize it. I killed my time giving 800score (I said killed as I never gave it results that serious thoughts) and then gave GMATPrep 2 days before (got 640 - Quants 48, V30). So, I was prepared that I'll get atleast Q48 and V30 on the D-day and if I pull myself harder and concentrate well, I should be able to score 680+.

D-day
-------
I read through several posts and got energy bar and water etc. My exam was at 4:30 p.m. I got up at 9:00 a.m., didn't know what to study at the last minute??? Just went over the formulas and some difficult problems that I had marked for Quants (I didn't have ANY verbal difficult problems chalked out to go at the last minute). Just went over random CR, SC and a single RC. I had breakfast and was ready by 12:30 p.m. I was so overwhelmed with the exam preparation (last 3-4 months) that I thought let me go early and try my luck to see if I can give it early. I reached the center (Just 15 mins from my place) at 2:30 p.m. and they said they have enough space and I can give early. I was happy and not sure at the same time if I should give it that early... but prepared my self and decided to dive into the test.
On my way to the test center, I ran into a guy who was in the middle of his Quants and verbal break. I asked him, how he's doing and he said, it's easier than he expected. I guess I got little relaxed hearing that ...
I started with AWA. AWA went real well. I finished both the essays 7-8 minutes to spare. Topics were easy and I was happy that I got a good start. I came out, decided that I'll FOCUS hard on first 20 questions and then go with the flow. Surprisingly I didn't have any strategy for the timing (how many questions in how many minutes. All along my previous preparation, i had planned for 30/35 mins for first 15 questions, 28 mins for next 15 and 17 mins or so for last 7 questions, but couple of days before the exam, I trashed it for no ryme/reason). So, I went and started Quants. First 3-4 questions seemed easy than I expected. I did and started psyching myself that why I am getting so easy questions. For some reason, I was not giving the Quants section as a real exam. I wasn't carefully verifying all my answers and had a CASUAL attitude. I have no clue WHY.... didn't psyche myself much about the overall timing.... just don't know what I did... so i had a gutt feeling that I didn't know real well on Quants (didn't expect to be that bad either --42). Then I took the break, ate my power bar and told myself to forget about Quants, focus on Verbal and strive to get 35 at least.
I went inside the room, started Verbal. The very first was a SC. Typically, I had in my mind that SC will be all long ones and complicated etc (atleast that's what i had prepared myself for) and I got a small SC to start with. I looked at it and could narrow down to two but didn't know which one to finally pick. I choose one and then moved to the next CR. CR was OK, don't remember how it was, but third question was again SC ( a small one). I got totally psyched about what's happening). In practice tests I used to get RC in my 2-3 question, but I did a good job of psyching myself. Questions 4,5,6 were all SC, small ones and I kind of lost it. I was extreemly careless in my SC and I feel I did ok on my RC/CR. I didn't have the concentration that I wanted in the Verbal. It was casual and I was just answering w/o realizing it's the main GMAT exam... Guess what, I was done with the Verbal section and saw my score. I was astound to see 560. I had never imagined I did that bad... This was the WORST score I ever got in any of my practice tests. I couldn't believe I could screw this bad. I was dejected and gave up totally. My internal fear won over and I SCREWED my Gxxx once again.
I decided not to give GMAT at all after that and drop the idea of doing MBA. My friends cheered me up last couple of days and boosted my moral. From not going to give Gxxx again, I am at a point where I want to give, but don't know how to prepare and how to improve.......
I am very busy and thinking of taking some time off to prepare essays. My dead line for GMAT is Feb 28,2007. Not sure if I'll be able to gather myself and get 680+ (I know I can do it, but just don't know how in this short time)......

I'll appreciate any thoughts, suggestions. I have TONS of study material (going over different forums etc), but I know I don't need to over whelm myself. I need a small concise material and study plan and 680 is easily reachable.

I'll appreciate any help.
Thanks

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Post Thu Nov 09, 2006 7:34 pm
Hi nicktnd:

Thanks very much for sharing your story with this forum. I'm sad to hear that you didn't reach your goals on your GMAT.

I have a couple of thoughts. It seems that the biggest inhibitor to your performance was your nerves--you seemed to recognize this yourself. You seem to have a tendancy to overanalyze your current performance on the GMAT. It seemed that for each section, by the time you got to question 3 or 4 you started to panic and wonder how you were performing. You have to break this mentality during your test--it will waste time and make you lose your focus. You have to train yourself to take each question, one at a time and just focus on driving toward an answer. If you can improve your nerves alone, I think that you will be able to get a 600+ on your next test.

I would recommend that you take a lot of practice tests under simulated conditions (timed, in a somewhat public area--everything!). This kind of practice will condition you into accepting your test environment, and will hopefully aide in calming your nerves.

If you do take the GMAT again, it seems like you could perform better if you had a better organized study strategy. I recommend that you read through my blog: http://www.beatthegmat.com

When I studied for my GMAT last year, I carefully documented my day-to-day progress in a blog. Read through it if you get the chance to get a sense of how I structured my own GMAT study. If you want a more condensed version, start with this post: http://www.beatthegmat.com/viewtopic.php?t=13

nicktnd, try to not to feel too depressed over this result. The GMAT is something that you can certainly beat! Go into your test with CONFIDENCE as well as the knowledge that YOU can reach your goal.

It is possible! Best of luck!

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aim-wsc Legendary Member
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Post Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:25 pm
great posts. both. nick, YOU ARE ACHIEVER! great story.

and thats one great reply from captain.
this place rox. Smile[/list]

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nicktnd Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
08 Nov 2006
Posted:
3 messages
Post Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:18 pm
Thanks for the encouragement and I'll go over your blog and try to learn as much as possible.
Do you have any good link for final few days schedule/game plan. I was very consistant all along, but gave up in last week or so....
Thanks

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Post Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:48 pm
In my blog, look at my last week of study, ~Day 72-Day 80. You can see how I approached the home stretch to my test.

Good luck!

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