Dead end, please help

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Dead end, please help

by smanuelitos610 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:01 am
First off, I wanted to thank this helpful community, although there still a long way to go for me, the posts here truly helped me along my preparation.

I have been peering through the posts in this community for over 6 months, waiting for the day I could finally write my post about how I beat the gmat and laid my way to a top program.

Unfortunately, I came to the conclusion that I will never be able to write that compelling story.

I decided to share my story and for advice to the BTG community

1 GMAT appointment: 3 weeks of study mainly on OG and without any timing strategy.
Total: 610

Up until here, nothing strange. I decided to focus on OG and use the MGMT books + CATs
Here is reported the breakdown of my scores on practice tests.

GMAT Prep1: 690 Q44/V40
MGMAT CAT 1: 670 Q40/41
GMAT Prep2: 590 Q43/V30
MGMAT CAT 3: 650 Q44/V35
GMAT Prep3: 670 Q44/V38
MGMAT CAT 2: 610 Q38/V35
GMAT Prep4: 650 Q48/V31
As I wanted to apply to R2 this year, I booked a date in January with the hope to score at least at 650

2 Gmat appointment: I retook the test on the 7th of January 2014, although I carefully designed my timing strategy, the anxiety and a few questions I couldn't get a handle on took a toll on my morale. Halfway through the test, I would get questions like, "how many primes does 30 have", I felt I was done already, GMAT had beaten me once again. During the break, I tried not to focus too much on what I believe would have been a poor math score and approached the Verbal section with the best of the intentions.
The Verbal section got quite tough soon, then I stumbled upon my sworn enemy, a tough RC passage on botanics. From then on it was a downward spiral...I remember getting to a point where on SC, my usual strong area, I would not be able to POE more than 2 options...

On the final screen I was tempted to cancel the score, then I considered my mocks scores and decided to give myself some more credit, I was wrong, the sentence: 560...when I saw the score appearing on the screen, I thought it was a joke.

I will not report the breakdown as the total is already shameful.

I practiced with a tutor who claims I have the foundations (I have an engineering degree)

At this point I would like to ask for advice to the community. Any comments and suggestions on similar experiences will be much appreciated...

Thanks a lot!


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by [email protected] » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:28 am
Sorry to hear about your test-day experience. Your score definitely is not a reflection of your skills (according to your practice tests).

Although you haven't shared your score breakdown, I get the feeling that the Verbal section was your undoing. This is not uncommon. Sometimes a ridiculously long and difficult RC passage can knock you off your game (both in timing and in confidence). Unlike the quant section, where you can easily pass on a question, the verbal section has RC passages with up to 4 questions, so you really can't skip the passage altogether. Esoteric science passages (e.g., one on string theory) can really kill one's confidence, especially if you've never enjoyed science. In these instances, it's crucial that you engage 100% in the passage. Rather than approach a new passage with dread ("yeesh, this is going to be a killer"), try to feign interest ("Excellent! This passage is about protozoa!!"). The greater your engagement, the better your results. You'll find additional tips to help you better engage with the passage in this free video: ... on?id=1123

If you're interested, we have a free set of videos that cover all sorts of Reading Comprehension strategies: ... prehension

It also sounds like some test anxiety may have hampered your performance. Would you agree? If you're interested, we have a free video on the topic on overcoming test anxiety: ... es?id=1252

As part of managing anxiety, it's crucial that you adopt the proper mindset/attitude on test day. To this end, you may be interested in reading the following BTG articles:
- ... -destroyer
- ... n-the-gmat

I hope this helps.


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by [email protected] » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:20 pm
Hi Manu,

Based on what you've described, I can see some tactical problems with how you approached your studies. Your Quant and Verbal Scaled scores show significant fluctuations, which means that you weren't consistent in how you were taking the CATs (and this likely means that you were inconsistent in how you "viewed" questions and studied). You have shown that you have a solid ability for both the Quant and Verbal sections, so now we need to figure out how to lock in the consistency. While you're going to miss the Round 2 deadlines, you could still make Round 3. To that end, I was hoping that you could answer a few questions:

1) What resources were you using to study?
2) When you took your CATs, did you ever skip any sections (such as the essay and/or IR)?
3) Were you taking your CATs in a consistent fashion (same time of day, same location, test-like conditions, etc.)?

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by grazie » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:13 pm

I don't know if I can help, but the MGMAT series of 8 was what I used in conjunction with the OG. Some tips that I've found work a lot better than most people give them credit for:

- Take notes! Reframe what you're studying into your own words. It'll help you commit it to memory because you already had to take the time to find your own way of stating the concept.
- If you need background noise, listen to instrumentals. For some inane reason, this really worked for me as far as studying and memorizing things, such as the tough geometry concepts.
- Immediately go over problems you miss when you see that you've missed them. Then, keep track of which ones you missed and at a later date, go over them again and see if you're still making the same mistakes.
- While listening to music during practice problems was okay for me, I knew when it was time for the practice CATs that I needed to be in a quiet, well lit space. Try to recreate the environment as much as possible.

I hope some of this helps.

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by Neverquit » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:34 pm
Hi Manu,
Just wanted to share this quote with you:
"Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing." Denis Waitley

You can do it! Just rearrange your cards and keep trying!