An even 700 (Math 45 Verbal 40) - MAD.

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I've been lurking on this board but hope to post more in the future.

Just wanted to share what happened on the GMAT that I took today, on November 25th, in New York. (Bit of background: came to US at age of 7, finance/accounting major at NYU undergrad GPA 3.5, work experience 3 years at an auditing firm/bank, SATs 1540 )

I am very disappointed with the result, not so much with the score (which is okay) but with the way that I performed.

Writing: the analytical question was hard (very detailed and technical) but I totally RAN with the agree/disagree question. Loved it. Had a lot of fun answering that one.

Math: MUCH MUCH MUCH easier than the GMAT Prep tests. I've been so scared with everyone telling me how much harder the real test is than the practice tests, because I usually run out of time on the math section at about Question 30. No kidding. I've done this on EVERY SINGLE PRACTICE TEST I've taken, no matter how I try to time it or learn more shortcuts or whatnot. I thought I would have to skip/guess a lot of math questions, when in fact, I had about a minute left to spare on the real test. In addition, my break went over too long, and I lost a minute before I had even begun the test!!! Yes, I'm totally stupid I know. But my adrenaline was pumping and my brain was in semi-frozen mode of fight/flight and yet still I was able to comprehend the math questions enough to score a 45. Math just scares the hell outta me. Considering all of the above, I would say that people tend to way over-estimate the difficulty of the math section. I don't understand why anyone would say that the GMAT Prep tests are easier than the real math questions, because even under pressure and strain I found the real GMAT math questions to be easier.

Verbal: Very confident and happy after the scary math section is over, I turned to the verbal. Verbal I absolutely love. I am a writer so naturally I love to edit (sentence correction), read (reading comprehension) and debate/analyze (critical reasoning). I am a lover of words. I can't say I love the CR's so much but overall verbal is the place where I hoped to get gains on my overall score. Usually on the practice tests, especially on the GMAT Prep tests, I would have about 20 minutes left to spare on the verbal section. The lowest I ever got on the verbal section was a 45, EVER. So I thought, okay, I should make a conscious effort to go slower on the verbal section and really double-check my answers. WRONG DECISION. I wasted too many precious minutes daydreaming about the sentence corrections (playing around in my mind how to even better write the sentence than the answers given, for example) or even letting the seconds tick away, just because I can. Looked around, played with my hair, wondered what a great score I would get. How does the saying go? Pride goes before a fall. I was too proud (and confident) in my verbal abilities, and I ended up wildly guessing on the last 6 questions because I was running out of time. Predictably, the questions got harder and longer (the critical reasoning ones which really required most of my time to think through and they were all the way at the end) and I was just panicking on the last few ones. I didn't even COMPLETE the last question - as in, I didn't confirm my answer. I wonder what penalties they give for not even answering a question? Anyway, I just felt stunned at how utterly I had failed myself by wasting time earlier in the section twiddling my thumbs. I should've treated every single second in the verbal section as sacredly and urgently as I would've treated every single second in the math section. If I had done that, I probably could've pushed up my points by about - who knows, 30? 40? 50 even?

The score flashed on the screen. They say the first reaction is usually the real reaction, and my first reaction at seeing 700 was relief that it wasn't 690 followed immediately by disappointment and regret. I came out and the guy said, very good, to which I said nothing at all. I think I just grunted something. I got increasingly distraught after the test and almost got ran over by a taxi as I stumbled around the city, fleeing back to work.

So I think the bottom line to take away from this is that predict the unpredictable on the test. For me, I thought I would be killed by the math. I wasn't. I thought verbal would be a breeze. It wasn't. In fact, the verbal was actually much harder than any of the practice tests I had done, especially the critical reasoning, followed by sentence correction, followed by reading comprehension. The critical reasoning was especially tricky. But in my case, definitely manageable. But I think I will take it again (I wish I could take it again RIGHT NOW!!!) because I know that my true ability is at a higher score level than 700, not because 700 is a good or bad score, but I just want a score that is at par with what I consider to be my best effort. People will tell me, oh 700 is very good, and the schools won't care whether it's a 700 or 730 or whatnot. I know that. But I care. I am going to re-take this, not to get into this or that business school per se, but just to prove to myself that I can perform better. I am going to do this again, for myself if for no one else.

So far my studying has been haphazard. I've been "studying" on and off for about a year now, interrupted here and there by my busy work schedule and by my love of traveling...but I really started to ramp up my efforts the past month. I've used EZ Solutions math guides which are a set of books that refresh basic math concepts well. They are not particularly user-friendly and are filled with mistakes and typos but being that I underperform in math I really needed these books. I also used the Barron's book and the McGraw-Hill books which were both good (although I recommend Barron's more). Of course, I pored through the Official Guides (both the big fat one and the separate math and verbal guides). I did several GMAT Prep CAT tests and my scores ranged anywhere from 650 to 770. They are not too reliable in my opinion. Again, like I mentioned earlier, the math was way more difficult and the verbal was moderately less difficult than the real test. I have to schedule my next test at least 31 days away, so I am going for December 28th. (I had hoped to enjoy my holidays but I guess that won't be happening this year.) Since everyone recommended them, I will practice with the Manhattan GMAT books and the PowerScore books, and just keep plugging away. I will try and update more frequently on this board too!

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by vivecan2005 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:54 pm
imperialhuntress wrote:I've been lurking on this board but hope to post more in the future.

Just wanted to share what happened on the GMAT that I took today, on November 25th, in New York. (Bit of background: came to US at age of 7, finance/accounting major at NYU undergrad GPA 3.5, work experience 3 years at an auditing firm/bank, SATs 1540 )

I am very disappointed with the result, not so much with the score (which is okay) but with the way that I performed.

Writing: the analytical question was hard (very detailed and technical) but I totally RAN with the agree/disagree question. Loved it. Had a lot of fun answering that one.

Math: MUCH MUCH MUCH easier than the GMAT Prep tests. I've been so scared with everyone telling me how much harder the real test is than the practice tests, because I usually run out of time on the math section at about Question 30. No kidding. I've done this on EVERY SINGLE PRACTICE TEST I've taken, no matter how I try to time it or learn more shortcuts or whatnot. I thought I would have to skip/guess a lot of math questions, when in fact, I had about a minute left to spare on the real test. In addition, my break went over too long, and I lost a minute before I had even begun the test!!! Yes, I'm totally stupid I know. But my adrenaline was pumping and my brain was in semi-frozen mode of fight/flight and yet still I was able to comprehend the math questions enough to score a 45. Math just scares the hell outta me. Considering all of the above, I would say that people tend to way over-estimate the difficulty of the math section. I don't understand why anyone would say that the GMAT Prep tests are easier than the real math questions, because even under pressure and strain I found the real GMAT math questions to be easier.

Verbal: Very confident and happy after the scary math section is over, I turned to the verbal. Verbal I absolutely love. I am a writer so naturally I love to edit (sentence correction), read (reading comprehension) and debate/analyze (critical reasoning). I am a lover of words. I can't say I love the CR's so much but overall verbal is the place where I hoped to get gains on my overall score. Usually on the practice tests, especially on the GMAT Prep tests, I would have about 20 minutes left to spare on the verbal section. The lowest I ever got on the verbal section was a 45, EVER. So I thought, okay, I should make a conscious effort to go slower on the verbal section and really double-check my answers. WRONG DECISION. I wasted too many precious minutes daydreaming about the sentence corrections (playing around in my mind how to even better write the sentence than the answers given, for example) or even letting the seconds tick away, just because I can. Looked around, played with my hair, wondered what a great score I would get. How does the saying go? Pride goes before a fall. I was too proud (and confident) in my verbal abilities, and I ended up wildly guessing on the last 6 questions because I was running out of time. Predictably, the questions got harder and longer (the critical reasoning ones which really required most of my time to think through and they were all the way at the end) and I was just panicking on the last few ones. I didn't even COMPLETE the last question - as in, I didn't confirm my answer. I wonder what penalties they give for not even answering a question? Anyway, I just felt stunned at how utterly I had failed myself by wasting time earlier in the section twiddling my thumbs. I should've treated every single second in the verbal section as sacredly and urgently as I would've treated every single second in the math section. If I had done that, I probably could've pushed up my points by about - who knows, 30? 40? 50 even?

The score flashed on the screen. They say the first reaction is usually the real reaction, and my first reaction at seeing 700 was relief that it wasn't 690 followed immediately by disappointment and regret. I came out and the guy said, very good, to which I said nothing at all. I think I just grunted something. I got increasingly distraught after the test and almost got ran over by a taxi as I stumbled around the city, fleeing back to work.

So I think the bottom line to take away from this is that predict the unpredictable on the test. For me, I thought I would be killed by the math. I wasn't. I thought verbal would be a breeze. It wasn't. In fact, the verbal was actually much harder than any of the practice tests I had done, especially the critical reasoning, followed by sentence correction, followed by reading comprehension. The critical reasoning was especially tricky. But in my case, definitely manageable. But I think I will take it again (I wish I could take it again RIGHT NOW!!!) because I know that my true ability is at a higher score level than 700, not because 700 is a good or bad score, but I just want a score that is at par with what I consider to be my best effort. People will tell me, oh 700 is very good, and the schools won't care whether it's a 700 or 730 or whatnot. I know that. But I care. I am going to re-take this, not to get into this or that business school per se, but just to prove to myself that I can perform better. I am going to do this again, for myself if for no one else.

So far my studying has been haphazard. I've been "studying" on and off for about a year now, interrupted here and there by my busy work schedule and by my love of traveling...but I really started to ramp up my efforts the past month. I've used EZ Solutions math guides which are a set of books that refresh basic math concepts well. They are not particularly user-friendly and are filled with mistakes and typos but being that I underperform in math I really needed these books. I also used the Barron's book and the McGraw-Hill books which were both good (although I recommend Barron's more). Of course, I pored through the Official Guides (both the big fat one and the separate math and verbal guides). I did several GMAT Prep CAT tests and my scores ranged anywhere from 650 to 770. They are not too reliable in my opinion. Again, like I mentioned earlier, the math was way more difficult and the verbal was moderately less difficult than the real test. I have to schedule my next test at least 31 days away, so I am going for December 28th. (I had hoped to enjoy my holidays but I guess that won't be happening this year.) Since everyone recommended them, I will practice with the Manhattan GMAT books and the PowerScore books, and just keep plugging away. I will try and update more frequently on this board too!
Still You made it!! Great as long as it contains 7 digit in it. I can understand the haphazard preparation but think from other perspective even after scoring 780 and getting in HBS and grduating with MBA degree where would your work? Obivously where you have worked three years so this is great given circumstances!

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by mridula » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:57 am
imperialhuntress wrote:(playing around in my mind how to even better write the sentence than the answers given, for example)
LOL! you are funny!!!
Congratulations though! :)

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by riteshbindal » Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:07 pm
Congrats on a good score! I believe it is a right decision to take the test again.
Waiting for another great debrief.