3 months + Manhattan = +10pts???

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3 months + Manhattan = +10pts???

by samb » Sat May 17, 2008 8:33 am
Hi everyone. I started studying in February for the GMAT. My goal is 700. I'm taking the GMAT on May 29th.

I first took the GMAT Prep test in February before ANY studying. I scored a 500 (can't remember breakdown). Pretty scary.

So I purchased the OG 11th guide and and went through it for a few weeks. I then heard about Manhattan and sat in on an online trial of 1 course in early March. I decided to sign up and had to take a Manhattan CAT exam before the 2nd class. I scored a 650. Not too bad. I figured 700 would be easy after 8 more weeks of the course.

I continued to study 2-3 hours per day following the Manhattan course. In mid-April, I took another CAT exam. Scored a 640, however time was an issue with quant but I was still disapointed. They told me that was normal to score lower in the middle of the course as I was still learning and not completely comfortable with the techniques. Made sense.

I just finished the class last week and took another CAT exam. I was pretty confident it would be around 700. Nope...660. I'm really disapointed. I feel like the last 2-3 months of studying were pointless as it increased my score 10pts. I loved the class and thought it was extremely helpful which is even more disturbing. I take the test in less than 2 weeks and have no confidence at all now. Below is a breakdown of my scores:

MGMAT CAT #1 - 3/23 - 650 (Q45/V34)
MGMAT CAT #2 - 4/17 - 640 (Q42/V35)
MGMAT CAT #3 - 5/17 - 660 (Q43/V37)

It's crazy, but my Quant score has decreased. While the 3pt increase in verbal is nice, that Quant score is driving me crazy.

Thoughts? Thanks!

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by Prasanna » Sun May 18, 2008 6:02 pm
Interesting situation. First you should not get scared and lose heart. Thats the last thing you need to do with the test 2 weeks away. I think you need to go through your prep to identify the quant areas that you need to focus on. I suspect you are either making silly mistakes or have got a few concepts wrong. I know this activity is going to take time but I am not able to suggest any shortcuts either. Dont take anothe practice test unless you have done some howe work on the areas that need improvement.

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by saberprivateer » Sun May 18, 2008 6:26 pm
Don't sweat it...the vibe I get from the board is that practice tests are typically lower than actual scores. This makes sense...practicing is supposed to improve your performance! Even if you had a par performance the mid 600s ain't too shaby!

I was planning on taking a GMATprep official practice CAT the week before my test. I have three weeks an am trying to cram in SC and a few other things that I'm weak on.

Good luck!

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by samb » Mon May 19, 2008 6:47 pm
I'm realizing that I know the concepts very well, however when I get in a test situation I get in too much of a rush to apply them. For the next few days, I'm focusing on abstract quant problems and making myself think for 15 seconds before diving into the problem. This will force me to think of various methods instead of trying to solve right away.

Hopefully I can score in the 660-700 range next Thursday. I've decided that unless I get a 700, I'll take the test again in a month so I shouldn't get too stressed about it. We'll see!

Thanks!

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by luvaduva » Tue May 20, 2008 11:03 am
Have you taken the two free CATs from www.mba.com yet?

It would be interesting to see how you score from their problem pool.

Something that has been helping me on Quant..

Close your eyes, take a slow and deep breath, hold for a second, and then exhale slowly. Then, read the problem.

If it was a very wordy problem, pause for a second, close your eyes, breathe again. Then go for it.

I often find myself jumping into a problem without really knowing what direction I am going or exactly what I need. Then, before I know it I have spent a full minute brute forcing equations hoping the answer is just going to appear only to realize that I have screwed myself on this problem. Then, I spend the last 30 seconds moping up.

What type of problem is this? Is it a sets problem? Is it a geometry problem? Algebra? etc..

What information did they give me? You can rest assured I will need to do something with that. Why did they tell me these two lines are parallel? Why did they tell me x and y are non-zero positive integers? Why did they tell me the two trains left at the same time? Why did they give me the circumference? You get the picture..

Breifly scan the answer choices or the two statements to see if they provide any direction for you to start working. "Hmm, statement (1) and (2) on this DS problem look similar to a piece of the stimulus. Maybe I need to spend a little time on the stimulus and decode it into something a little more simple. "All of the answers have a sqrt(3) in them"...I should think about that as I am setting up the problem.

Do I recall seeing anything similar to this before? If so, what did I do to solve it. If not, then I start thinking about an escape plan. Eliminate answer choices, if possible, and pick an answer. There is a GOOD chance this problem is an experimental problem. Look at it that way. It wasn't a loss, but a calculated retreat. You have to learn to let go early. If you aren't going to get a problem correct anyways, DON'T waste 3 minutes on it!!! Save face and kill it early.

Develop a game plan for attacking the problem. If you are at this point then you can probably answer this problem. Go after what you need. If you have time to check your answer, which you usually, don't then do it very quickly. "I have train B's rate now, but I need the total distance. I can plug this rate into this equation and get this or that..."

Always be thinking like this even when you are working practice problems. Ask yourself why is this? Why MUST this be true? What if I was only given this?

Remember that these problems are ALL designed to be answered on average in less than 2 minutes. You could probably answer anything they throw at you given enough time. If you can't answer the problem in two minutes it is probably because you haven't seen the little trick before that removed the brute force algebra. Now, on some of the very hard questions there is a lot of heavy calculations, but that is at the mid-high 700 level questions.

Anyways, you just have to be very prepared. Try those www.mba.com practice CATS and see how you do. Practice some using what I have said.

HTH