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Need advice: actual GMAT score declined from mocks

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Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
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Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Hello all,

I need some advice urgently. I appeared for GMAT exam on August 3 and got a 650 (Q50, V28),IR-4, AWA 5.5. My score in verbal was substantially lower than what I was getting in my mocks and I am completely stumped as to why this happened. I had taken 8 mock tests leading up to the final day and I took these in as similar conditions to the real test as possible - wrote the essays, did IR section, took the prescribed breaks, and gave most of these exams at the same time as my actual slot. The only reason for the discrepancy may be that I got a few repeat questions in GMATPrep mocks (more details available below), which would have led to a slightly inflated score. However, sometimes I got these repeat questions wrong as well which reduces the advantage of these familiar questions.

Details of these mocks are as follows:
  • 1. Jul 10: MGMAT3: 620 (Q41, V34)
    2. GMAT Prep1: 750 (Q50, V40) (retake of a test I took last year hence I believe this to be significantly inflated)
    3. GMAT Prep3 [Exam Pack 1]: 700 (Q50, V34) (new test purchased) - 1 repeat, got it right
    4. Jul 23: MGMAT4: 680 (Q46, V37)
    5. Jul 25: Veritas Prep: 710 (Q48, V39)
    6. Jul 27: MGMAT5: 680 (Q47, V36)
    7. Jul 30: GMAT Prep4 [Exam Pack 1]: 720 (Q49, V38) (new test purchased) - 2 repeats, got both right
    8. Aug 2: GMAT Prep2: 710 (Q49, V37) - 6 repeats, got 3 of these right
While I think that the mock results would have been inflated to some extent, I doubt this would explain the wide difference in verbal score between mocks and the actual test.
During the actual exam, I did not feel any anxiety, nerves or fatigue. The only thing which I can put my finger on is that I had about 1.5 cans of Redbull during my breaks and this is something that I had not followed in my practice tests. However, I did not feel any lack of focus or unnatural symptoms.

Prep methodology and materials:
I put in 1.25 months of concentrated prep this time and 3-4 months of on and off studying.
Materials used: OG10, OG11, OG 13, Manhattan SC strategy guide, Topscore pdf's, online forums
I also gave GMAT last year in September 2013 and scored 640 (Q49, V28). I had put in one month of prep on and off for this attempt. My mocks this time were a significant improvement over this last score and also over what I scored in mocks in the past but the actual test day result was a let down.

My questions are:
  • 1. Is a retake warranted?
    2. What can explain the dip in my verbal score?
    3. Given the earliest I can retake is after a month, what can I do improve my gaps in the meantime? I have some long days coming up ahead at work and will be able to invest only limited hours in GMAT.
    4. What is the best strategy to retain my momentum without investing too many hours as I do have limited time to devote to prep now?
Thanks

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by GMATinsight » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:53 am
...
Last edited by GMATinsight on Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:30 am, edited 3 times in total.
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by dp26389 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:47 am
padce wrote:Hello all,

I need some advice urgently. I appeared for GMAT exam on August 3 and got a 650 (Q50, V28),IR-4, AWA 5.5. My score in verbal was substantially lower than what I was getting in my mocks and I am completely stumped as to why this happened. I had taken 8 mock tests leading up to the final day and I took these in as similar conditions to the real test as possible - wrote the essays, did IR section, took the prescribed breaks, and gave most of these exams at the same time as my actual slot. The only reason for the discrepancy may be that I got a few repeat questions in GMATPrep mocks (more details available below), which would have led to a slightly inflated score. However, sometimes I got these repeat questions wrong as well which reduces the advantage of these familiar questions.

Details of these mocks are as follows:
  • 1. Jul 10: MGMAT3: 620 (Q41, V34)
    2. GMAT Prep1: 750 (Q50, V40) (retake of a test I took last year hence I believe this to be significantly inflated)
    3. GMAT Prep3 [Exam Pack 1]: 700 (Q50, V34) (new test purchased) - 1 repeat, got it right
    4. Jul 23: MGMAT4: 680 (Q46, V37)
    5. Jul 25: Veritas Prep: 710 (Q48, V39)
    6. Jul 27: MGMAT5: 680 (Q47, V36)
    7. Jul 30: GMAT Prep4 [Exam Pack 1]: 720 (Q49, V38) (new test purchased) - 2 repeats, got both right
    8. Aug 2: GMAT Prep2: 710 (Q49, V37) - 6 repeats, got 3 of these right
While I think that the mock results would have been inflated to some extent, I doubt this would explain the wide difference in verbal score between mocks and the actual test.
During the actual exam, I did not feel any anxiety, nerves or fatigue. The only thing which I can put my finger on is that I had about 1.5 cans of Redbull during my breaks and this is something that I had not followed in my practice tests. However, I did not feel any lack of focus or unnatural symptoms.

Prep methodology and materials:
I put in 1.25 months of concentrated prep this time and 3-4 months of on and off studying.
Materials used: OG10, OG11, OG 13, Manhattan SC strategy guide, Topscore pdf's, online forums
I also gave GMAT last year in September 2013 and scored 640 (Q49, V28). I had put in one month of prep on and off for this attempt. My mocks this time were a significant improvement over this last score and also over what I scored in mocks in the past but the actual test day result was a let down.

My questions are:
  • 1. Is a retake warranted?
    2. What can explain the dip in my verbal score?
    3. Given the earliest I can retake is after a month, what can I do improve my gaps in the meantime? I have some long days coming up ahead at work and will be able to invest only limited hours in GMAT.
    4. What is the best strategy to retain my momentum without investing too many hours as I do have limited time to devote to prep now?
Thanks

You experience is very similar to mine. I also ended up with a lower than expected verbal score which led to a poor performance. Here are a few suggestions ( I am also trying to get a hang of these) :
Develop a process for solving each type of verbal question. If you are a regular reader of good quality material, chances are that you have developed a sense of how correct sentences sound. Using this skill you will probably do well on practice questions ,but real test environment is different. Testing in a completely different location and that too with shorter breaks (if you deduct the procedures and everything, the break is hardly longer than 4 minutes)can take a toll. Also, verbal, the most challenging section of the test(for me at least!), is also the last section which makes it even more tricky. In an exhausted state of mind you won't be able to do well solely on the basis of gut feeling and some theory(you must have picked something in all those weeks of prep).
So, what you really need to do is to develop a standard operating procedure(sop) for every kind of question i.e SC, CR(each sub category), and RC. Once you do this you will find that solving questions becomes less exhaustive. This is because SOPs will reduce the number of decisions you have to take while solving a particular type of question, such as CR assumption or strengthen. This will also lead to higher accuracy. Remember, actual test questions are much more trickier than most practice verbal questions. So you must not use gut feeling while solving them. Only choose an answer when you have logically eliminated all other choices.

Do the same with quant questions as well. Also, practice with 4 minute breaks during mock cats.

Hope this helps both of us!! (my test is on 22nd august!!)

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by TarunaSaini » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:35 pm
Hi,

Hope my suggestions will be helpful.


1.Is a retake warranted - Since you have scored well in Prep Exams and are not satisfied with your score, you can try to give the exam again.
2.What can explain the dip in my verbal score - Analysis of what went wrong on that day will be difficult.
3.Given the earliest I can retake is after a month, what can I do improve my gaps in the meantime? I have some long days coming up ahead at work and will be able to invest only limited hours in GMAT. -
As your scores have been consistent you should try to focus on the study plan and concentrate on refining your understanding.
4.What is the best strategy to retain my momentum without INVESTING too many hours as I do have limited time to devote to prep now? - Keep practicing and giving test. It will keep your momentum high.

Good Luck!!

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Re:need advice

by Nishanth1112 » Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:42 pm
Just wanted to know what happened. Did you write it again??