Urgent help- I am facing weird problem

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Urgent help- I am facing weird problem

by hmboy17 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:15 am
Hi Gues I seriously need your help here. My test is on 29th sept. From last one month I have noticed great improvements in CR, SC and to some extent in RC (I have done all the OG problems 10 and 11 , and had good success rate + 1000 question series) but when ever I am starting a test I don't do well in verbal section and doing at least 4-5 questions wrong in first 10.
I am not able to figure it out the reason as I am doing fairly well on studies and other practice drill, then why I am not able to convert that performance on mock test (Only for Verbal, I gave gmat prep test, veritas test, 800score tests)? This is really putting me off from studies as I do not see the improvement on mock test.
I did not do (As I was concentrating on Verbal) math practice from last 2 months still I was able to get 43-44 but verbal is pushing me back as I am ending up under 20.
I thought about it and started doing a practice drill of 10-15 questions from Veritas, OG, 1000 series and Kplan and my success rate was 8/10 (SC) 7/10 (CR) AND 6/10 (RC). I know I can still work to improve these hit rate lot more but before I do that I wanted to see the same performance on mock tests.

Is it because mock tests are online and most of the questions I do in practice are on books (Hard copies)? This is the only thing I could figure it out?
Please suggest this test is nothing less then a life for me now if not more so your inputs will be highly appreciated.

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by DanaJ » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:59 am
Received a PM.

If I understand correctly, your issue is as follows: you have acceptable hit rates when you practice, but do poorly on CATs.

My first observation will probably make me sound like an evil person, but I'd rather you hate me for it than not have anyone tell you the truth: from your post, I can tell that your general English needs work. If you take the GMAT right now, I'm pretty sure you'd end up with a low score on the verbal section, possibly in the low 20s at best. This is an issue that you need to address before considering CAT scores. I suggest the following:
- use a good grammar book (published by Longman, Oxford and such) to polish your English
-read A LOT of good quality material every day: books, newspapers (the Economist, Wall Street Journal, www.businessweek.com)

My second observation comes in connection with the first: you've been doing practice problems, but have you been studying the concepts? Merely practicing won't do you any good unless you truly understand the inner workings of a question. In SC, do you know what mistakes are common? In CR, do you know the types of questions and how to address them? Knowing the concepts is vital: if you practice without proper review, then you're just wasting questions.

Now, to answer your question: scoring unexpectedly low on CATs has many possible explanations:
1. You usually do sets of 10 questions on each section, for instance, while the CAT will throw at you 41 questions from 3 different sections, which is something you're not quite used to
Solution: as you progress (and please see my recommendations above), try going beyond the usual number of questions. Do this one step at a time: if you're used to 10 questions, do 15 in one week's time, 20 in two weeks' time and so on. I remember my gym instructor used to say that I need to push myself ever further for my muscles to really build up...

2. You find it hard to concentrate for that long and verbal is the last section of the GMAT. You're mentally exhausted by then.
Solution: Don't take CATs after a long day at work and don't even think of taking CATs if your environment is less than perfect (i.e. it's noisy or messy). Eliminate all external factors that can affect your performance. As for internal factors: try the same method as described above. If you work harder each time, if you try to push your limits, then eventually you'll get used to the brain working for so long.

3. When practicing, you use different sets of questions as opposed to when you take CATs.
Solution: There isn't one, really, but here's the explanation. When you practice, you might be using a slightly easier set of questions as compared to that of a CAT. There's no way of fixing it, but there is a way you can predict it. For instance, I found 800score tests harder than OG problem sets. I also thought that the tests were not worth it (poorly written questions in verbal), so that might also impact your performance.

4. You have trouble with timing.
Solution: If you do have timing troubles, then, depending on the section, I might be able to offer more specific pointers.


Remember: there's nothing in this world that can't be fixed. If you really put your back into it, then you too will beat the GMAT.

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by hmboy17 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:24 pm
First of all I would like to thank you for responding to my issue.
Now coming back to your suggestion, I do revise the concepts frequently probably I should have mentioned that in my query itself. But I definitely like your idea on increasing the number of questions in practice drill.
Now as far as picking the easier questions for practice drill then I would say not really as I have taken the practice drill for more then 150 questions in OG and was able to get the hit rate mentioned above. Here I am assuming that in 150 questions there will be all kind of difficulty level questions.
Though timing and stamina in this test are the key aspects but I do not face much challenges to manage them though having said that I would love to have more time to solve the questions as any one else.
On 800 score test I completely agree with you as the test is not adaptive but I also have given GMAT pre and veritas test and found the same issues.

So again I am going to do more practice and will also analyze my questions after every practice drill. I am sure that I will see great improvements as until I am fighting I haven't lost.

Thank you so much and your feedback/response will be appreciated.

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by myohmy » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:18 pm
hmboy17 wrote: Now as far as picking the easier questions for practice drill then I would say not really as I have taken the practice drill for more then 150 questions in OG and was able to get the hit rate mentioned above. Here I am assuming that in 150 questions there will be all kind of difficulty level questions.
Not necessarily. The OG increases in difficult as you complete more questions. That is, the first 50 questions are easier than the next 50 are easier than the next 50. So if you did the first 50 CRs, SCs, and RCs, then you wouldn't really see any "difficult" questions.

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by hmboy17 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:27 pm
Then it really complicate my issues as I always start from the last question to first. That means I have covered last 150 questions from each section (Verbal only) which are considered to be the difficult one