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Need Advice... scored 580 on 1st GMAT, goal is 700 Help!

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Bombed my first GMAT 580 (38Q 32V). I have been studying since the beginning of the year, took the MPrep in person class, and have been using the OG, MPrep Materials, and Kaplan Question bank as practice. I just started using a problem tracker. I have been scoring 630-680 on my MPrep CATs (43-45Q and 35-38V) and I got 650 on my Official Practice Test. I have already signed up for another test in July, but I was thinking I need to take a better approach. I really didn't feel that badly about my test and was really surprised. Looking for any advice or alternative ways to study, as I am in full panic mode right now. Any help/advice is appreciated.

Thanks!

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by Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:05 pm
Hi conorpope93,

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you're looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
4) When did you take the Official GMAT?

Goals:
5) What is your goal score?
6) When are you planning to retake the GMAT?
7) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
8) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com
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strategy

by conorpope93 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:17 am
Hi Rich,
Thank you for the reply, any help is greatly appreciated!

Studies:
1) Since January, 4-8hrs/day on the weekend. 1-2 hours/day on the weekdays.

2) What study materials have you used so far? I took the MPrep class and have used their materials, I have been using the OG and the Kaplan question bank for quizzes to focus on practice and timing. I have mainly been using the OG and the Official Verbal guide for verbal practice and the Kaplan and MPrep materials for Quant.

3) CAT scores below
MPrep CAT 1 (before I started studying) - 520 (Q34 V28)
MPrep CAT 2 - 630 (Q40 V36)
MPrep CAT 3 - 620 (Q39 V35)
MPrep CAT 4 - 650 (Q45 V34)
MPrep CAT 5 - 640 (Q43 V35)
MPrep CAT 6 - 630 (Q42 V34)
MBA.com Practice Test - 650 (Q44 V35)
MPrep CAT 1A - 680 (Q37 V45) (I reset the question bank for this CAT so I had already seen some of the questions)

4) June 18th,

Goals:
5) 700, but at this point I am hoping for a 680
6) Due to the limited availability I rescheduled one for July 13th with the option of probably taking it in August and Sept as well.
7) Round 1 and 2 of this year.
8) University of Washington (Foster), USC (Marshall), Notre Dame (Mendoza), Vanderbilt (Owen)

I also purchased an ESR from GMAC that I can PM you if that would be helpful.
Thanks,
Conor

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by Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:13 pm
Hi Conor,

I'll be happy to analyze your ESR for you; you can either PM or email it to me.

Considering the drop in both your Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores on Test Day (relative to your practice CAT Scores), I'd like to know a bit more about how you took your CATs:
1) Which of these CATs were in the current, shorter format?
2) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
3) Did you take them at home?
4) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
5) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
6) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE (re: on a prior CAT, in an online forum or in a practice set)?

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

by conorpope93 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:03 am
Hi Rich,

Sent to your email. Thank you again!
1) Cat 4, 5, 6, and 1A along with my official GMAT Practice test were all in the new shorter format.
2) Yes, I took them all in one sitting, in the Quant, Verbal, IR, Essay Order.
3) I took most of them at my office over the weekend (quiet and allowed me to replicate test conditions).
4) Yes, I took the GMAT at 8AM and took all my practice tests in the morning (between 8-9AM)
5) I tried my best to, I did get up and take a bathroom breaks in some of them, but tried to replicate test conditions. I didn't realize you couldn't chew gum during the test and I didn't have as much coffee the morning of because I was scared I may have to run to the bathroom.
6) My MPREP Cat 1A (I scored 680) was taken with a refreshed question bank so I had seen some of the same questions.


Thank You,
Conor

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edit

by ceilidh.erickson » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:14 am
conorpope93 wrote:Bombed my first GMAT 580 (38Q 32V). I have been studying since the beginning of the year, took the MPrep in person class, and have been using the OG, MPrep Materials, and Kaplan Question bank as practice. I just started using a problem tracker. I have been scoring 630-680 on my MPrep CATs (43-45Q and 35-38V) and I got 650 on my Official Practice Test. I have already signed up for another test in July, but I was thinking I need to take a better approach. I really didn't feel that badly about my test and was really surprised. Looking for any advice or alternative ways to study, as I am in full panic mode right now. Any help/advice is appreciated.

Thanks!
Whenever I see students score much lower on the real test than on practice exams (and if, per Rich's questions, they were taking all exams in test-like conditions), it's likely test-taking anxiety might be the big issue. Your mental state can have a HUGE impact on your performance! Try to tell yourself the following:

1. There's no need to stress on any given test, because there's no penalty for taking it multiple times (except the cost of the test itself, which is minimal in comparison to the cost of graduate school). Just tell yourself "if this doesn't go well, I can always take it again."

2. Stress is a good thing! (A little bit of stress, anyway). It means that your body is preparing for a fight - you're in "game-time" mode. Try to tell yourself, "ok, it's good that I'm feeling excitement. That will focus my concentration!"

3. Remember to BREATHE! Your brain needs oxygen. Taking a DEEP BREATH before every question can help reduce the buildup of cortisol & make it easier for you to think clearly.

4. The GMAT is very forgiving. It's ok to guess & move on from any individual problem - even the experts get lots of questions wrong / have to skip on the real thing!

Here are some more resources about managing anxiety:
https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgoniga ... anguage=en
https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... aking-out/
https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... mat-score/
https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... at-stress/
https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... anagement/
https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... t-wrong-2/

Another thing that students often don't think about, but which can have a huge impact: decision fatigue. When you've made dozens of decisions in a row (as on a GMAT exam), it depletes your ability to make new decisions. One way to combat that - eat something! Increasing blood glucose has been proven to counteract decision fatigue.

"Even the wisest people won't make good choices when they're not rested and their glucose is low,"
https://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magaz ... .html?_r=0

It might help to invest in a few sessions with an expert tutor. They can help you to strategize and instill confidence in your approach. I certainly don't believe that everyone needs to spend $$ on tutoring, but an expert can often give you perspective that's harder to get on your own.

Good luck!
Ceilidh Erickson
EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education

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by Scott@TargetTestPrep » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:10 am
Hey conorpope93,

I wanted to check in. Did you end up taking your GMAT? If so, how did it go?

Scott Woodbury-Stewart
Founder and CEO
scott@targettestprep.com

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