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Time for GMAT Round 2

This topic has 7 expert replies and 4 member replies
eric777 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
01 Nov 2015
Posted:
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Time for GMAT Round 2

Post Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:55 am
Hello,

I studied for awhile last year, and looking back I realize I did not study well at all, and after a month break without really studying took the GMAT and scored an expected 570. 32Q/35V, a 3 or something on IR, and 6 on the essay.

I restarted my studies this January, and have been doing practice problem after practice problem from the OG, including going through the Manhattan GMAT foundations book once at the start of my studies, and once again two weeks ago. I took a practice test at the end of January (Magoosh practice which was not a great practice test) and they rated me a 580, though I believe I have improved since then.

I schedule my GMAT for the middle of May, and now I want to focus this last 6 weeks on really improving and I'm looking for some advice. I'm an engineer and work at a fortune 20 company in a technology research position, but I was always more of a C in calculus, while acing other random math courses kind of student. I know I have the aptitude, but my study skills aren't great.

Some background:

- military veteran -> only reason I'm mentioning it is that this hurt me as I never studied in high school, then 4 years without doing any math and then straight into engineering
- I didn't really start studying in college until my last two years, and then even though I was taking all engineering courses I was a mostly A student
- never took the ACT/SAT so I never properly developed study skills for tests like the GMAT

I'm not sure what else would be applicable. I've noticed people do things like create flash cards or study cards, but I have a poor memory, even for flash cards. Another thing I've noticed is that other test takes have been completing an "error log". I've attempted that, but I don't really know what I'm supposed to get out of it? If I were looking at where my weaknesses were - I marked down what category of problem I'd get incorrect - then it was all over the place. I'd miss something random on a problem that wasn't confusing or anything, and each time I've taken the GMAT (real or practice) I've answered all questions in almost exactly 75 minutes.

Any advice/help/encouragement would be appreciated. I'm not looking to go to Stanford or something. I'm interested in Michigan, Berkely, and a couple of other schools in that tier.

Thank you!

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Post Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:16 am
Hi eric777,

This score shows that you have a pretty good grasp of the 'core' material that is tested by the GMAT. Unfortunately, we can't view this score as accurate because you skipped the IR section. On Test Day, once you factor in the the 'check in' time, 'orientation section' of the Test, Essay, IR and first break, you'll have dealt with about 1.5 hours of activity before you see your first Quant question - and about 3 hours of activity before you see your first Verbal question. These are important aspects of the Test Day that you MUST train for if you want to maximize your performance. By skipping a section, you took a shorter, easier Exam that required less work - so you didn't face any of the endurance/fatigue challenges that you'll face on Test Day. This is meant to say that you really MUST take your CATs in a more rigorous fashion as you continue to study.

Now that you have this result, you should plan to do a full review of the Exam. While there are a variety of different things to note (based on the type of Mistake Tracker/Error Log that you're using), here are some standard questions that you will want to answer:

In each section, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?

Defining WHY you're getting questions wrong - and then working to 'fix' whatever needs fixing - is part of what it takes to to hone your skills and score at a higher level.

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

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Post Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:13 am
Quote:
Going to review all the questions. The verbal score is puzzling. I feel much stronger in verbal - and I do know that I go too fast on the exam (usually have 10-15 minutes left even when trying to go slowly).
Important to bear in mind - those raw scores mean very different things in quant and verbal. Your V37 would have a significantly higher percentile than your Q40, so despite the lower number, your verbal score is actually stronger than your quant.

In the meantime, keep reviewing your old exams and attempting to boil down the essence of those tests into 4-5 actionable takeaways. Then do some drilling areas that need it and gear up to take another exam and repeat the process.

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Post Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:16 am
Hi eric777,

This score shows that you have a pretty good grasp of the 'core' material that is tested by the GMAT. Unfortunately, we can't view this score as accurate because you skipped the IR section. On Test Day, once you factor in the the 'check in' time, 'orientation section' of the Test, Essay, IR and first break, you'll have dealt with about 1.5 hours of activity before you see your first Quant question - and about 3 hours of activity before you see your first Verbal question. These are important aspects of the Test Day that you MUST train for if you want to maximize your performance. By skipping a section, you took a shorter, easier Exam that required less work - so you didn't face any of the endurance/fatigue challenges that you'll face on Test Day. This is meant to say that you really MUST take your CATs in a more rigorous fashion as you continue to study.

Now that you have this result, you should plan to do a full review of the Exam. While there are a variety of different things to note (based on the type of Mistake Tracker/Error Log that you're using), here are some standard questions that you will want to answer:

In each section, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?

Defining WHY you're getting questions wrong - and then working to 'fix' whatever needs fixing - is part of what it takes to to hone your skills and score at a higher level.

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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Post Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:13 am
Quote:
Going to review all the questions. The verbal score is puzzling. I feel much stronger in verbal - and I do know that I go too fast on the exam (usually have 10-15 minutes left even when trying to go slowly).
Important to bear in mind - those raw scores mean very different things in quant and verbal. Your V37 would have a significantly higher percentile than your Q40, so despite the lower number, your verbal score is actually stronger than your quant.

In the meantime, keep reviewing your old exams and attempting to boil down the essence of those tests into 4-5 actionable takeaways. Then do some drilling areas that need it and gear up to take another exam and repeat the process.

_________________
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Post Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:04 pm
eric777 wrote:
So a few of the questions were because of silly mistakes. For example, the first question was along the lines of there are 4*10^11 starts and 50 million are suns like ours or something along those lines. I did the problem exactly how it should be done, but was off by one factor and got 800 instead of 8000.

How do you guard against these types of things?
If silly mistakes are hurting your score, then it's important that you identify and categorize these mistakes. Some examples might include:
- sloppy writing causes a 7 to mysteriously turn into a 1
- you forget that a question is an EXCEPT question.
- you fail to notice crucial information such as x is an integer or w < 0.
- you calculate Pat’s current age when the question asked for the Pat’s age 5 years from now.
- and so on

Once you have identified the types of mistakes that YOU typically make, you will be able to spot situations/questions in which you're prone to making errors.

I write about this and other strategies in the following article: http://www.gmatprepnow.com/articles/avoiding-silly-misteaks-gmat

Cheers,
Brent

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Post Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:18 am
Hi eric777,

Little mistakes can almost always be traced back to a lack of proper note-taking (you might also define this issue as doing too much work 'in your head'). Ultimately, you have to ask yourself what you are willing to do to guarantee that you get the question correct. Would you be willing to put in the extra effort to 'bulletproof' your work or not? The good news is the work is almost always pretty easy.

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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eric777 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
01 Nov 2015
Posted:
12 messages
Post Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:39 am
Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com wrote:
Hi eric777,

This score shows that you have a pretty good grasp of the 'core' material that is tested by the GMAT. Unfortunately, we can't view this score as accurate because you skipped the IR section. On Test Day, once you factor in the the 'check in' time, 'orientation section' of the Test, Essay, IR and first break, you'll have dealt with about 1.5 hours of activity before you see your first Quant question - and about 3 hours of activity before you see your first Verbal question. These are important aspects of the Test Day that you MUST train for if you want to maximize your performance. By skipping a section, you took a shorter, easier Exam that required less work - so you didn't face any of the endurance/fatigue challenges that you'll face on Test Day. This is meant to say that you really MUST take your CATs in a more rigorous fashion as you continue to study.

Now that you have this result, you should plan to do a full review of the Exam. While there are a variety of different things to note (based on the type of Mistake Tracker/Error Log that you're using), here are some standard questions that you will want to answer:

In each section, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?

Defining WHY you're getting questions wrong - and then working to 'fix' whatever needs fixing - is part of what it takes to to hone your skills and score at a higher level.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
So a few of the questions were because of silly mistakes. For example, the first question was along the lines of there are 4*10^11 starts and 50 million are suns like ours or something along those lines. I did the problem exactly how it should be done, but was off by one factor and got 800 instead of 8000.

How do you guard against these types of things?

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eric777 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
01 Nov 2015
Posted:
12 messages
Post Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:17 am
Took my first Manhattan GMAT (I've used up my free official ones) and scored a 640. 40 quant 37 verbal. I'm happy about that as compared to previous scores. This included writing the full-length essay but not IR. I'm not worried about the essay at all - it's the one area I'm naturally good at.

Going to review all the questions. The verbal score is puzzling. I feel much stronger in verbal - and I do know that I go too fast on the exam (usually have 10-15 minutes left even when trying to go slowly).

I've attached a copy of the score assessment. Any advice or encouragement is appreciated!
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eric777 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
01 Nov 2015
Posted:
12 messages
Post Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:59 pm
Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com wrote:
Hi eric777,

To start, many Test Takers find that training to face the GMAT is a challenging task, so you're not alone. When dealing with individual GMAT questions, it helps to remember that every aspect of each GMAT question is carefully chosen - the numbers involved, wording/descriptions and even the answer choices were chosen - by a human writer - to test you on certain (mostly "standard") concepts. You're rarely given that much information to work with, but what you are given is there for a reason - so you have to think in terms of what each prompt reminds you of (knowledge, patterns, prior questions that you've answered that were similar, etc). You don't have to be a genius to score at a high level on this Test, but you do have to take responsibility for the questions that you CAN get correct.

Physically redoing questions that you've gotten wrong (step-by-step, on the pad) can help reinforce the knowledge, Tactics and patterns that you need to know to score at a high level. Beyond that work, you might need to analyze how you approach questions, the type of notes that you take, the frequency in which you try to do work "in your head", etc.

If it's really been a couple of months since you last took a practice CAT, then you should take one soon. Make sure to take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.. Once you have that score, you should report back here and we can discuss how best to proceed.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
Thank you. I'm planning on taking a full-length practice test this Saturday.

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Post Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:29 pm
Hi eric777,

To start, many Test Takers find that training to face the GMAT is a challenging task, so you're not alone. When dealing with individual GMAT questions, it helps to remember that every aspect of each GMAT question is carefully chosen - the numbers involved, wording/descriptions and even the answer choices were chosen - by a human writer - to test you on certain (mostly "standard") concepts. You're rarely given that much information to work with, but what you are given is there for a reason - so you have to think in terms of what each prompt reminds you of (knowledge, patterns, prior questions that you've answered that were similar, etc). You don't have to be a genius to score at a high level on this Test, but you do have to take responsibility for the questions that you CAN get correct.

Physically redoing questions that you've gotten wrong (step-by-step, on the pad) can help reinforce the knowledge, Tactics and patterns that you need to know to score at a high level. Beyond that work, you might need to analyze how you approach questions, the type of notes that you take, the frequency in which you try to do work "in your head", etc.

If it's really been a couple of months since you last took a practice CAT, then you should take one soon. Make sure to take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.. Once you have that score, you should report back here and we can discuss how best to proceed.

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

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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eric777 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
01 Nov 2015
Posted:
12 messages
Post Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:04 pm
Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com wrote:
Hi eric777,

I'm hoping that you can provide a bit more information about the work that you've done so far and your plans:

1) When did you take the Official GMAT (from your post, it's implied that you did so in January - but that seems to run counter to the plans that you discussed here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/looking-for-a-little-advice-maybe-words-of-encouragement-t288173.html#762230)

2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?

3) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

Assuming that your goal score is still 700+, you're going to have to make some significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Continuing to study in the same ways as before will likely lead to the same general score results - so you'll have to make some adjustments to your study routine (and that will likely require that you invest in some new study materials).

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

Sorry I'm just now getting back to this thread. I took a week off because I felt burnt out and I needed to refocus - so that meant avoiding all GMAT related topics until I could settle down.

I took the official GMAT last April. I took a practice test this past January. I have my upcoming official test scheduled for this upcoming May.

I think I've realized that I'm not intelligent enough, good enough of a test taker, or perhaps motivated enough for the exam for the score I need for the type of school I want to get in to. For instance, today I missed a question where asking to calculate the angles of the points of a star with the polygon in the middle. I knew that there were multiple triangles within the star, but just simply missed the polygon in the middle of the star, which led to me not being able to answer the question. Looking at the answer it was just like " well duh, of course". It's disheartening to think that solving those types of problems are so intuitive to people.

But what's the strategy here? How do you learn a lesson from that question, for example? Is that type of question really just a mid 500s level question?

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