Dramatic score reduction on test day????

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Dramatic score reduction on test day????

by burlers18 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:17 am
Hi, by way of background I completed the test this week and achieved the disastrous score of 460. My programme required 600 min.

I am a finance professional and spent 4 months preparing, including a prep course, as well as doing 8 practice tests that ranged between 560 - 600 in each test. I was never way over my target but I was well within reach of it, and I worked very hard for 4 days leading up to the actual test.

It was the 1st I had taken at a test centre admittedly and I was nervous on the day, as well as having had v little sleep the previous night.

What I am trying to understand is how my score dropped so dramatically!? my first ever attempt at the gmat was higher! Is there anything other that could have seriously harmed the score to that extent? timing for example?

I felt like the verbal went well, in fact I was getting bolded statement qs, which are higher level. Yet I scored in the 30th percentile, I was never below 60th percentile in any practice.

I am seriously puzzled. I knew it would be close but this was totally unexpected.

Anyone had any similar experiences?
thanks

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by [email protected] » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:22 am
I think you've pretty much identified the problems right here:
burlers18 wrote: It was the 1st I had taken at a test centre admittedly and I was nervous on the day, as well as having had v little sleep the previous night.
Your practice test scores suggest that you know the material well enough. The missing piece of the puzzle seems to be how you function on Test Day.
It seems that some test anxiety may have hampered your performance. If you're interested, we have a free video on the topic on overcoming test anxiety: https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gener ... 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 articles:
- https://www.gmatprepnow.com/articles/min ... -destroyer
- https://www.gmatprepnow.com/articles/jun ... g-big-gmat

I hope that helps.

Cheers,
Brent
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by [email protected] » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:34 am
Hi burlers18,

Sorry to hear about your experience on test day. However, I'm curious if your previous practice exams were full-length TIMED attempts. While your practice scores might have indicated you were in the upper 500-lower 600 range, if you didn't closely simulate a test-day environment (including taking timed breaks and avoiding additional breaks to use the bathroom, etc), your practice tests might not have been telling the whole story.

Best,
Rich

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by burlers18 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:42 am
Hi Rich, Brent
Thanks for the input

Rich - the tests were full tests. They were provided by Kaplan, I will admit I did not execute under the strictest of conditions, but I did complete full sections (ie Quant / Verbal) at a time without breaks. I didn't do the whole test in one sitting ever.

I am not sure that can account for such a difference though. Obviously I got a lot more wrong on the
day, but I am concerned the benchmarking for the practice tests was not accurate.

Either way I am considering retaking with a much more relaxed attitude now that I cant make my programme deadline anyway, and see what happens. And just as another point, I studied English A level with an A grade and I am a native English speaker. I did v little work for the verbal and in all practice tests was between 65th - 80th percentile. I just fail to see how the score can drop so badly!!

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by [email protected] » Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:13 am
Hi burlers18,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as planned. When these types of score drops occur, the two likely "causes" involve either something that was unrealistic during practice or something that was surprising (or not accounted for) on Test Day.

If you can answer a few questions, then we should be able to figure this out:

When you took your CATs:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT (including the Essay and IR sections)?
2) Did you take them at home?
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as your Official GMAT?
4) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, listen to music, etc.)?
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once?

On Test Day:
1) How long was the ride to the Test Center from your home?
2) Were there any distractions at the facility or during the Test?
3) What did you do during the two 8-minute breaks?
4) Did you finish any sections early?
5) Did you have to rush to finish any sections (and guess on questions just to finish on time)?

Anxiety and lack of sleep could each have significantly impacted your performance. The GMAT gives you the score that you EARN, so to raise your Official Score, you have to focus on the tactics that you employ and the physical work that you do (on the pad, NOT in your head) to prove the correct answer. Thankfully, Business Schools don't care if you take the GMAT more than once, so doing so is not a big deal. Also, the GMAT is the same predictable, standardized Test that it's always been, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

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Rich
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by ReasonGMAT » Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:33 pm
As far as 3rd party tests go I like the Kaplan tests, but they are still not official tests. And if you took their course then you were probably relying largely on their materials. Again I generally like Kaplan but it may be that you were relying too heavily on unofficial questions and unofficial tests. The tests, in particular, can be problematic because not only are the questions not real questions but the scoring algorithm is just an approximation of the real thing so it is very hard to gauge whether those scores you were getting reflect scores that you would have gotten on the real test.

So moving forward I would suggest a much heavier dose of real questions (Official Guide and other GMAC resources) and official tests (GMATPrep).

Good luck!
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by burlers18 » Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:36 am
When you took your CATs:
1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT (including the Essay and IR sections)? No
2) Did you take them at home? Yes
3) Did you take them at the same time of day as your Official GMAT? No
4) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, listen to music, etc.)? I stopped for periods longer than the 8 mins breaks
5) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? No

On Test Day:
1) How long was the ride to the Test Center from your home? 30 mins
2) Were there any distractions at the facility or during the Test? No it was very quiet
3) What did you do during the two 8-minute breaks? Went out of the room for a few mins and then returned
4) Did you finish any sections early? no
5) Did you have to rush to finish any sections (and guess on questions just to finish on time)? Yes on the verbal

Rich - In response to your questions, please see above. Seems to me it was more A REALLY bad performance on the day!

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by [email protected] » Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:36 am
Hi burlers18,

This extra information you've provided is helpful - it points out some of the areas of your approach that didn't properly prepare you for the Official GMAT. These are some of the big areas that need to be fixed.

The only real way to measure your progress during your studies is to take FULL-LENGTH CATs under 'test-like' conditions. That means that you have to take the ENTIRE CAT, away from your home, at the same time of day as your Official GMAT, without doing anything unrealistic (such as pausing the Test, eating/drinking while taking it, etc.). The more 'differences' there are between how you take your CATs and how you take the Official GMAT, the more likely that your CAT scores are inaccurate (and those scores are usually higher than they should be).

The GMAT is a specific 'event' which you CAN train for, but there were too many differences in how you took your CATs, including:

1) Not taking the entire CAT. You were training yourself to take a shorter Test. On Test Day, you had to do MORE work then you were ready to do, so you probably got tired during the Quant and/or Verbal sections.
2) Taking the CATs at home. There is no way that your home can properly simulate a Testing environment.
3) Not taking the CATs at the same time of day as your Official GMAT. Humans are creatures of habit - if you are not training yourself to perform at a high level at the same time of day as your real GMAT, then your performance can suffer when you Test at a different time of day.

Thankfully, almost all of these issues can be dealt with if you just take your CATs in a more realistic way. You have to PLAN to make your CATs match your Official GMAT appointment in every way possible though. You might also want to invest in some new practice materials.

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