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by gmat700plus » Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:10 am
Timing

Sorry, I meant 2-3 min *MAX* for Quant. For most of the questions in the OG and in the practice exams I would be under 2 (~1:00-1:30), anything over 2 I would flag during my OG sets for review. During the exams I would keep track of the time (via my scratchpad methods) and if I went over 2 mins, I would do a quick check to see where I was at. If I was 'near' the end (i.e. I was working through some logic) I would go for it. Only if I had extra time would I go over the 3 mins. If I was stuck, I would cut my losses and make an educated guess. If I didn't have a solid lead at 2 minutes I wasn't going to get the answer in 3 (or, 4, or 5...) minutes.

I will have to go back and look at my practice exam notes to see if I went 'faster' on questions I thought were 'easier' ones... and potentially made a silly mistake or two. Certainly on test day I may have gone a bit too fast on some of the 'easier' ones so I could make more time to attack the harder ones...

For verbal, I tried to do <2 for SC, around 1-2 for CR, and then 1-2 for RC with a 3 min time for reading. It is quite complex... I know on SC, during practice, I would be very close to 2 mins a lot of times when it was a hard question... For the most part though I just tried to keep track of where I was supposed to be at overall during the Verbal.

So, for SC, I'll need to work on knock down that average time to around 1m15s like you mentioned. That should give me more time to spend on the trickier CR and RC questions. I know on RC I had to work on going faster in the reading+outlining so I could make my overall time. Doing SC faster should give me more time to spend here. BTW, do most people finish Verbal early? I don't think I've ever finished this section with more than 1-2 mins left.

Essay
>>It is important to do the essays. I know we don't care about the score so much, but the mental energy it takes to do the essays draws down on your total energy - so you're not as mentally alert for the later portions of the test.

I think this is a very good point, I had always skipped over the practice essays because it added an hour to the practice test... but that's actually why I should have done them, because they add an hour to the test! This will help me work on my mental stamina and also my new nutrition plan (eating something between AWA and Quant and then again between Quant and Verbal)

Day Before and Day Of

My review the day before the test was mostly high level (reviewing the tougher OG questions), but it was definitely more than 2 hours. Probably closer to 6 :( I guess I just wanted to make sure I knew/remembered how to tackle the toughest questions in the book. If I had seen a similar question during the test and couldn't solve it I knew I would have been mad at myself if I hadn't reviewed all the tough questions in the OG. But, that may have tired me out a bit on Friday.

Same thing for my 'warmup', I picked tough questions. I do like your suggestion of easy problems, just do a light jog instead of a hard sprint right before the test.


So, the plan now is to get find the cracks in my game and seal them up. Picked up the Manhattan GMAT books and am reviewing all the material again. SC is my big and obvious crack in Verbal right now, so I'm going to work on that one a lot. On the Quant side, I find that I am 'weaker' on certain types of questions, like DS Number Property Inequality questions. I can get to the right answer... but it takes me longer than it should, and I tend to have to 'test' a lot of numbers to get comfortable with the answer.

I'm hoping that shoring up some of these weaker points will help my Quant score too. I think SC is the clear cut culprit in Verbal... but I don't see the clear problem on Quant... and both my Q and V scored dropped hard on the actual exam. So still need to figure that out...

Oh, I found out what one of the 'new' questions I saw on Quant was... it was a wonky Unknown Digits Problem. I had never seen one of these before! I was tempted to just skip it but I was OK on time so I spent 1-2 mins on it trying to work through the logic. It didn't look hard, but I don't think I attacked it right and am not sure if I got it right. Oh well, next one I see I'll know how to do!

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by Stacey Koprince » Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:14 am
Good, I'm glad you've got some ideas about what to do next. On quant, the one thing that jumped out in your last post was that you normally do quant problems that you can do in 1 to 1.5m. That's definitely increasing your chances to make careless mistakes, so just be careful there. When we think something is easier (and, therefore, more likely to be "below" the level that we want to score), we really can't afford to make a careless mistake.

Most people don't finish early on verbal, no - so you're right where you should be (finishing with 1-2m left).

For SC, try this exercise: approach these as you would a math problem, to some extent, where you see certain "symbols" and that causes you to categorize the problem in a particular way. The "symbols" you'll see are the differences in the answer choices, and those "symbols" should be your immediate clue that a particular rule is being tested.

If I were to show you a particular difference in answer choices but NOT show you the full problem (or even the full answer choices), would you be able to tell me which rule is probably being tested? You can probably do this for some things right now (eg, "has" and "have" would be a pretty straightforward split), but you can also probably get better at this. The splits, or differences in the choices, are the major clues that (should immediately) tell us what rules we need to think about / apply for that choice. That will help with both your speed and your accuracy.

By the way, (this is for everybody reading this) if you see a totally new problem on the test, something you completely don't recognize, feel free to either guess immediately and move on (if you're already behind on time) or to spend no more than 1.5m trying it, but then moving on and not worrying about it at all. It's a lot harder to figure stuff out completely from scratch. You're going to do much better on problems you recognize, even a little bit. So just think,"Okay, you won that point" and move on mentally.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes. Also if you think of or notice anything else while you're studying or reviewing past tests, let us know that too!
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by prasantnaidu » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:13 am
amazing post....helps a lot to think and rethink on ur weakness.
A big thanks to Stacey and All the best to gmat700plus.

Keep Rocking
PN. :D
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by yangliu0401 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:04 pm
ken3233 wrote:If you missed many of the early questions on each section, that may have been enough to cause the algorithm to lock you onto the low-scoring track. I do not know if the algorithm adjusts upward as the test progresses.

Did you notice that the test questions were too easy as the test progressed? Usually that is a unmistaken indication that something isn't right.
Yep~ We must pay full attention to the very first 10 Qs of each section. I do not think the system would automatically go upward once it scoped u as the average/low level.

Well, this is typical and really alerts me!!!! I am going to beat the GMAT on this Thur.

God bless all of us!!!

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by Stacey Koprince » Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:34 am
DANGER - the earlier questions are not "worth more" than the later questions. That's an urban legend. It is true that there are wider "swings" in difficulty levels early on as the test attempts to figure out your baseline, but there are severe penalties for
(a) running out of time with questions left, and
(b) getting multiple questions wrong in a row (which is exactly what happens when you have to rush at some point because you spent too much time at the beginning)

Those penalties are severe enough to override the wider "swings" in difficulty at the beginning - in fact, studies have shown that, on average, if you get 4 or more questions wrong in a row at the end, your score is likely to be lower than it otherwise would have been. In other words, at that point, the penalty at the end is not just evenly offsetting the wider swings at the beginning. The penalty is actually overriding the wider swings!

The nutshell: do pay good attention to the first 10. And the next 10. And the next 10. And the last 10. Steady your time and give yourself a shot at every question. (Technically speaking, it's not much of a penalty if you have to guess on just one at the end - but do NOT put yourself in the position of having to guess on multiple.)
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by crazy4gmat » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:22 am
Amazing suggestions Stacey. Many thanks.

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by mowie » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:18 am
I recognized at one of the last questions that clicking on the screen changes the answer. I am almost sure that I lost a few points because of this technical flaw. BEWARE OF THIS!

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by gmat700plus » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:47 pm
Rematch is set... April 23rd! That's a bit over the 30 days I needed to wait, but I wanted to pick the same test center and the same time (12:00 PM), and this was the next available date.

SC update - oh "verb tense", I wish I could quit you...

-J

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by iwant700plus » Fri Mar 27, 2009 2:29 pm
Sorry to hear about what happened to you gmat700plus.

Stacy, tanks so much for the suggestions. I have noticed that when I took practice tests and wrote out the essays, i scored much lower than I did when I did not put time into essays. I guess that break is very important. Will try to use some of the suggestions here next week.

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by NethraN » Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:39 pm
Wish you Good Luck gmat700plus.
Nethra

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by hrishikesh05 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:28 am
I share a very similar story to you.

I too got 730 and 740 on my GMAT Prep exams

In the real exam i got 650. Completely shattered. But i guess i am going to give it again after reading this post.


Thanks Stacy and good luck to you 700plus for your next attmept

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by gmat700plus » Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:15 am
Update:

Took the GMAT again yesterday (April 23rd), and absolutely rocked it out:

770!!!!!

I wanted to say thank you to everyone on the board for helping me stay positive and on track. It was a devastating moment to get a 570 the first time around (knowing what I was capable of), but you guys definitely helped me recover and get ready to take on the GMAT again.

I will try to post up a full write up soon and give detailed information on what I did differently the second time. The big thing for me was in the little details, the subtleties of each question. I feel that I may have missed a lot of the subtleties during my first test, but yesterday I was spotting them all and sidestepping all the traps and pitfalls the GMAT likes to use.

Thanks again!

J

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by Stacey Koprince » Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:01 pm
That's fantastic! Congratulations! I'm glad that you were able to pull things together after your negative experience the first time. It is possible!

I hope you're going out to celebrate tonight. :)
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by BlindVision » Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:09 pm
What an amazing score!!!!! Wow! Congratulations and awesome that you stuck it through to achieve your goal. :D
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by El Cucu » Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:29 pm
gmat700plus wrote:Update:

Took the GMAT again yesterday (April 23rd), and absolutely rocked it out:

770!!!!!

I wanted to say thank you to everyone on the board for helping me stay positive and on track. It was a devastating moment to get a 570 the first time around (knowing what I was capable of), but you guys definitely helped me recover and get ready to take on the GMAT again.

I will try to post up a full write up soon and give detailed information on what I did differently the second time. The big thing for me was in the little details, the subtleties of each question. I feel that I may have missed a lot of the subtleties during my first test, but yesterday I was spotting them all and sidestepping all the traps and pitfalls the GMAT likes to use.

Thanks again!

J
I can bet that the first time you took the test you fell in the Gmat tricks and traps and in the second time you were more than alert on all those kind of things.

Could you pls. post what did you do differently from your 1st attemp?

All the best!