660 and confused!

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660 and confused!

by vivek1110 » Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:02 pm
This would be my first de-brief, but my second attempt at the GMAT. First time around I managed only a 570, mainly because I made the mistake of attending a bogus prep course, which really hurt my chances.

Second time around, I decided, to hell with all prep courses, I can do this on my own.

So these are the resources I tapped into:
1. OG12
2. Powerscore CR Bible
3. Manhattan SC
4. Kaplan 800
5. Kaplan (the big book)
6. Princeton review guide

So I was pretty much done with all of this about two weeks back, after which I decided to rigorously take practice tests and condition myself for the GMAT. I took all tests under timed conditions and wrote the AWA. Writing the AWA is absolutely crucial, you have no idea how rapidly you can lose concentration during the verbal section after doing the AWA and math, so it's important you do the complete test each time. Not writing the AWA during practice was a mistake I made last time.

Here's a list of my GMAT scores from practice tests:

1. GMAT Prep1: 570
2. MGMAT 1: 600
3. MGMAT 2: 600
4. MGMAT 3: 610
5. Peterson's: 700
6. Power Prep: 690
7. MGMAT 4: 640
8. GMAT prep 1 (Retake): 660
9. MGMAT 5: 690
10. Gmat Prep 2: 700.

After doing the MGMAT 5, I really thought I was doing well. That score and my lack of time forced me to book my exam soon. I booked my date 3 days before the exam! I'm not sure if this was a mistake, but it's not like I had an option. Two days before the exam, I took my last GMAT prep, and was really excited to see a 700, as that was my target score.

Exam Day:

The exam was scheduled for 9:00am, so I woke up at around 6, did the routine stuff. Went through all math formulae, did a couple of SC, RC questions, after which I headed straight for the exam.

This time I decided to drive myself to the exam center, you know, for good luck. :) And as soon as I reached there, I realized driving up there was a huge mistake. I got into an altercation with the watchman as he refused to let me park, I was in a building with NO parking and nowhere to go! After a lot of pleading, begging on my part and a li'l bit of under the hood cash, he did agree to let me park. So that was that- now for the exam, luckily I left quite early, so I was still well in time.

I did the palm vein scanning thingy, took my picture and all rest of the formalities and waited for the inevitable. My exam started pretty well, the topics for AWA weren't too bad, I took a li'l time on the Argument part but sailed through the issues part. I took my break, ate a couple of eclairs and got back to do the math. Math seemed way too easy, I was getting really simple questions, and I began to wonder if I was actually doing well, but I've never actually done badly in math, so I stuck to it and kept going. It was time for my second break, gobbled a couple of eclairs and got straight back to doing my verbal. I knew that this was what was gonna decide my fate.

I got a few simple questiosn initially, all of which I answered without much of a problem. I got an essay on the 6th question, so I thought I must be doing well. I reached the 18th question and from here, it all started going down hill. The thing was in both the exams I did prior to this one, I was doing really well in verbal, and I knew so because I got a bold faced question by the 15th question. It was Q18, and still no BF Question, at this point I suddenly got a nervous breakdown, I started feeling sick at the pit of my stomach, I was contemplating cancelling my score. I looked at the clock, and I realized that I had done only 20 questions, and head only 20 minutes left, I got even more panicky! I took a minute regained my composure, and told myself that I WILL get through this, I WILL not quit. I kept going I started reading actively again, I raced through the questions, I got a few CR's that were not too tough but I could just not figure out the answer, I guessed and moved on. I finished the paper by guessing on the last couple of questions and clicked on finish.

So I clicked next really quickly, got to the part where the stupid program asked me whether it should report the scores, I thought for a while and clicked on REPORT! My prayers had now shifted from what would have been "PLEASE BE 700" to "PLEASE BE 600", the screen flashed and showed

Q 47
V 35
S 660

I was partly relieved and partly disappointed, because I knew I could've done better on the verbal part, as I was consistently scoring b/w 38-40 on the practice exams, however, after all that happened during the verbal part, I'm glad that I atleast managed a V35.

Although my aim was a 700, I cannot imagine studying again and writing the GMAT again. I was initially targeting top 10 schools, now I guess I'll have to settle for less. I'm not sure if this is good even for top 20, but I guess I'll have to take my chances.

I would like to thank all of you for all the help, I would like to thank all the experts for their valuable input, and thank you Eric, for this wonderful forum!

Vivek
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by boazkhan » Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:21 am
Hi Vivek,
Congrats on your score! Did you find Quant & Verbal on the actual exam comparable to GMAT Prep Quant & Verbal?
Were the RCs representative of the RCs in OG in terms of length and difficulty?


Thanks,
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by vivek1110 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:02 am
boazkhan wrote:Hi Vivek,
Congrats on your score! Did you find Quant & Verbal on the actual exam comparable to GMAT Prep Quant & Verbal?
Were the RCs representative of the RCs in OG in terms of length and difficulty?


Thanks,
Boaz
Well, I found math pretty alright.. Verbal was not too bad, I did, however get an insane RC somewhere in between, it was not so much laden with data and details as it was tricky and confusing. In general, I find that the trend as far as RC's are concerned is that they are smaller in general, and quite tricky. SC's were okay.
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by DeepakR » Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:15 pm
Congratulations Vivek !!. I am from Chennai, I took the GMAT in feb and got the same score as you.

-Deepak

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by pukul79 » Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:40 pm
660 is not bad, GMAT is not the only thing that many school look at. But, seeing the effort that you have put in from 570 to 660, its a 90 marks improvement.

In this context, you will not lose anything in giving the GMAT another shot. In any case schools look at your highest score.

whats the harm in giving another shot.

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by kevincanspain » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:11 pm
BF Critical Reasoning can be easy or difficult, so not getting one is not necessarily a bad sign: It's a pity that you were thinking about this instead of focusing completely on the questions at hand. If you were panicking because of this and if you had time, I would retake and try to forget all those myths!
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by gmat_dawg » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:08 am
Guess what my strategy on the AWA is? I'm a decent writer and I remember one time I wrote literally 3 sentences as a reply and they gave me 4.5. Also that day happened to be my highest score on the GMAT. A month later when I went in to do a retake I actually used up the entire hour to do the AWA, wrote an essay, and then proceeded to gas (run out of energy) on the Verbal, and my overall score went down.

So now my strategy is to write around six sentences total, two short paragraphs, type real slow, and don't think too hard while writing it.

I don't care if I get around a 5 on the AWA, I don't think the schools really care too much about that score. Anyone can just bang out two lengthy paragraphs with reasons, counterreasons and a conclusion and have none of it really make sense and still get a 5.5 or a 6.
Last edited by gmat_dawg on Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by vivek1110 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:53 pm
gmat_dawg wrote:Guess what my strategy on the AWA is? I'm a decent writer and I remember one time I wrote literally 3 sentences as a reply and they gave me 4.5. Also that day happened to be my highest score on the GMAT. A month later when I went in to do a retake I actually used up the entire hour to do the AWA, wrote an essay, and then proceeded to gas (run out of energy) on the Verbal, and my overall score went down.
Wow really? 4.5 for 3 sentences? There must be something seriously flawed with the assessment system if that were true. And yeah I busted my ass off on the AWA, got a 6. And now I have too many 6's in my score report for my liking! :/
Congratulations Vivek !!. I am from Chennai, I took the GMAT in feb and got the same score as you.
Congratulations!
If you were panicking because of this and if you had time, I would retake and try to forget all those myths!
Ah, everyone's says I should retake. Is this a bad score for the top 20 US schools, considering I'm Indian?
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by gmat_dawg » Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:03 pm
vivek1110 wrote:
gmat_dawg wrote:Guess what my strategy on the AWA is? I'm a decent writer and I remember one time I wrote literally 3 sentences as a reply and they gave me 4.5. Also that day happened to be my highest score on the GMAT. A month later when I went in to do a retake I actually used up the entire hour to do the AWA, wrote an essay, and then proceeded to gas (run out of energy) on the Verbal, and my overall score went down.
Wow really? 4.5 for 3 sentences? There must be something seriously flawed with the assessment system if that were true. And yeah I busted my ass off on the AWA, got a 6. And now I have too many 6's in my score report for my liking! :/
Congratulations Vivek !!. I am from Chennai, I took the GMAT in feb and got the same score as you.
Congratulations!
If you were panicking because of this and if you had time, I would retake and try to forget all those myths!
Ah, everyone's says I should retake. Is this a bad score for the top 20 US schools, considering I'm Indian?
On the surface, without knowing anything else about the rest of your application including your story, work experience, extracurriculars, GPA, essays, interview, etc etc... it's a little bit on the light side.

Put it this way, there are Indian people and plenty who get in with that score, and plenty who have like 740 and also don't get in.

The only real way to maximize your chances is to bring forth an application that is median to above median, way above median in every aspect of your application. And still, it is still a numbers game. But the schools will just eventually rank all applicants on a score from 1 to 5 let's say and then just arbitrarily say, let's just take highest 25% of these rankings in this round of applications, etc.

So given all of that... it's really your call.

And that being said, if a guy with a strong rest of application and a 750 gmat applied to 10 top 10's I would be surprised if he didn't get into at least one program.

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by pukul79 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:16 pm
Give the GMAT again.

660 is on the lower side. AdCom committee will have one more reason to reject your application.

with 660 you are saying to AdCom, that they should ignore your GMAT score and look at your GPA, workex, Extra-curriculars etc.

look at it this way.

700 is 90th percentile. supposing that every year 200,000 people give the GMAT. No, let that be 100,000 worldwide. That would mean that there are 10,000 students who have got more than 700.

With a 660 you are even in a more precarious situation. Granted, there are students with even 580 who get into the likes of Harvard. But in those cases GMAT is not the deciding factor. Now whether you have other things to show apart from your GMAT is something only you would know.

Give it again. with a 660 you are at the lower end. You may get admitted to a business school. But then again........


Another thing, I consulted a student of a top MBA program in India. And he told me that the GMAT also shows how a student would perform in the program. In that context, the higher the GMAT the better your performance in the program

Take care

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by gmat_dawg » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:17 pm
Here is my grain of salt.

I consider it that there are around 3 types of test takers.

Those that can score high 600's to low 700's with zero prep. (these get 750 or higher with some prep maybe 1 month maybe 3 or 4)

Those that score 500 to low 600's with zero prep (these get high 600 to mid 700's with solid prep maybe 3 months to 6 months).

Those that score 500 or lower and will never get 700 no matter how hard they study.

You can sort of figure it out.

I'm sure adcomm knows this as well. Bottom line, I'm sure they know that for the average candidate, if you try hard enough you're going to get a decent score.

They will likewise know if you're also very smart and get 710 on the first try of the gmat or some people get like 750 on their first attempt. They might likely be wowed by this.

So given all of that, do you think that there are a lot of people who are trying their ass off and getting a 700 when they apply to a reputable program? You bet.

They will know roughly from your gmat and the other parts of your application what caliber of person you are.

With the preponderance of people who study their ass off to get 700+ these days, will you REALLY stand out with a 700+???

Doubt it. You';ll just be doing your part to NOT STAND OUT.

That is all I have to say and you can interpret that in any way you like, but I think that more or less speaks the truth.

Good day.

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by pradeepkaushal9518 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:12 am
well done vivek

660 is not so easy score to achieve. ya sumtime something happens when u just stay few steps from yr target. i hope u will get a good B school. we miss u in the forum.

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by vivek1110 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:37 am
with 660 you are saying to AdCom, that they should ignore your GMAT score and look at your GPA, workex, Extra-curriculars etc.
I cant help but agree with you, it does look like I'm asking them to ignore the GMAT. I just cannot imagine studying, and writing the GMAT again!
well done vivek

660 is not so easy score to achieve. ya sumtime something happens when u just stay few steps from yr target. i hope u will get a good B school. we miss u in the forum.
Hey, I'll still be on the forums! It's hard to just stop coming here, and with the number of people asking me to re-take, I might just need all the practice I can get from here!
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