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Test Day Disappointment, Need Advice for Moving Forward

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I need some assistance in determining potential reasons for a significantly lower test day result than any previous practice test. I also need advice on what my next steps should be to ensure that my second test is prepared for as appropriately as possible. I am highly considering hiring a Private GMAT Coach to do a 1-2 hour study strategy and results analysis. I would not be opposed to a possible Quant tutor as well, but after almost 225 hours of personal study and a full Veritas Course, I want to ensure I am being as efficient as possible with my time.

Test Day:
Timing: I had to do a 10-20 second educated guess on the final question of both Quant and Verbal sections. With approximately ten questions left on both the Quant and Verbal sections I knew I needed to pick up the pace, but it did not have a really constraining effect. I just knew I had to be more efficient with my time. I can only think of one Quant question I truly just skipped over because I was unsure of how to solve it and knew it would take substantial time. The Verbal Questions were pretty demanding and the CR question stems were fairly complex, as opposed to basic Strengthen or Weaken formats.

During Test Mentality: I felt fairly calm. The biggest surprise is I felt as though I was getting questions right in both Quant and Verbal. I honestly expected a score closer to the high 600s. I felt as though I was hitting some pretty consistent "base hits" throughout the test.
Eating, sleeping, morning of were all fairly normal and calm. I certainly did not feel myself have a "freak out" or real significant anxiety the morning of the test.

Pre-Test Study
Final 6 Weeks: For the previous 5 weeks, I had been taking one full Official GMAC Practice Test per weekend. I would then spend approximately 4 days going over the results, reviewing every question I got wrong and possibly doing a day of focused study on a specific topic before taking the next test. This was good, but I felt as though I was not making and truly concentrated study on my weakest areas, but rather just superficial studying from test to test.
Final 2 Weeks: I decided I was not going to take another Office Practice Test and instead take the final two weeks to focus on areas of deficiency. Unfortunately, I did not do any timing or speed drills in those last two weeks and while I was very aware of timing milestones on test day, I think I may have slipped.

Official GMAC Practice Test #1
Total: 680 (82%)
Quant: 44 (52%), Verbal: 39 (89%), IR: 8 (93%)

Official GMAC Practice Test #2
Total: 640 (68%)
Quant: 40 (41%), Verbal: 37 (83%), IR 7 (82%)

Official GMAC Practice Test #3
Total: 690 (85%)
Quant: 45 (57%), Verbal 39 (89%), IR 5 (55%)

Official GMAC Practice Test #4
Total: 730 (95%)
Quant: 47 (63%), Verbal:44 (98%), IR 7 (82%)

Official GMAC Practice Test #5
Total: 670 (81%)
Quant: 43 (50%), Verbal 39 (89%)

OFFICIAL GMAC TEST (Canceled)
Total: 610 (59%)
Quant: 35 (26%) , Verbal 39 (89%), IR: 8 (92%)

Thanks for all of your help!

Mike

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by Scott@TargetTestPrep » Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:47 am
Hi Mike,

I'm sorry to hear how things went with your GMAT. Assuming that you took your official practice exams under realistic testing conditions, the results show that on a good day, you are capable of scoring higher than 610. Thus, it's quite possible that nerves, stress, tiredness, or a combination of all three negatively affected your test-day performance. However, it's also possible that you have some lingering weaknesses that were exposed on test day, meaning that in your preparation, you did not really learn to do what you have to do in order to score high on the actual GMAT. Rather, you picked up on some patterns that were effective in getting you relatively high scores on practice tests. To hit your score goal, your preparation probably needs to be more complete, meaning that you have to go through the various types of GMAT questions carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills.

With all that said, when do you plan to retake the GMAT? Do you need any general advice on how to improve your GMAT quant and verbal skills? Also, you may find it helpful to read this article about How to Score a 700+ on the GMAT.

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

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by Bara » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:14 pm
HI Mike, I'm sorry you had this experience and I'm curious since it's a month pat your test, where you stand now.

Your story is not unique. I recently wrote a blog article about this very thing, Score Disparity Between Diagnostic and Official GMATs...here: https://citytestprep.com/score-disparit ... ial-gmats/. Here are some points, though, that I see based on your issues:

1) Yes. You want to identify your weaknesses then determine what you need to do to fix it, but setting up some really great practice to make sure you 'got' what you didn't get on your diagnostic. Bell Curves has a really great practice mode in their Quant and you can create your own quizzes. You need to integrate new patterns and habits, here.

2) Your timing also seems to be an issue. The best way to catalyze your speed is to increase your reading speed. Getting your eyes to move faster, helps, even on Quant. You will have more time to answer questions. We teach a speed reading protocol, here: https://www.mindflowclass.com and it will soon be available as a DIY online platform FOR GMAT test takers.

3) You will want to damper the active part of your experience that is figuring out what you are scoring and judging your performance - - Ideally, you are in a flow state that allows you to take the test without additional chatter and assessment in real time. Let's make a comparison - - think of things that you don't want to bring your critical mind into - - dancing, eating, talking with a friend and even intimacy. When you start to judge where you're at in real time - - good or bad - - it ruins...well - - 'the mood'. So this may have put a wedge in your efforts. When you think back of the diagnostics you took did you equally assess where you were at?

Hoping you go the support you needed and that you're on your way to meet and exceed your goals!
Bara Sapir, MA, CHt, CNLP
Founder/CEO City Test Prep
Maximize your Score, Minimize your Stress!
GMAT Badass and Test Anxiety Relief Expert
SPEEDREADING: https://citytestprep.com/mindflow-workshops/
ANXIETY RELIEF: https://citytestprep.com/mindfulness-therapy/
BOOK: https://tinyurl.com/TPNYSC
TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McA4aqCNS-c

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by Jaykpatel21 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:05 pm
I've noticed a funny thing: test anxiety is worst when the test is hard. Someone who suffers from test anxiety (or claims to have problems taking tests on a computer) is just fine filling out a personality quiz online. That's a glib comparison, sure, but if the problem is the test or the computer, what's the difference?

The difference is difficulty. And therein lies the solution.

Knowing the material inside and out may not cure all of your stress. Even now, I get the jitters a little bit when I sit down to take the GMAT, and I've scored near 800 several times now. If those jitters are irrational, I don't know what is. But would you get stressed out taking a timed arithmetic quiz? Or perhaps answering questions about your job with the clock ticking? Those situations just aren't as bad.

Most importantly, you have to practice under timed conditions. That doesn't mean you need to take lots of practice tests: those are a waste of time. But you do need to practice with a stopwatch so you gain confidence answering GMAT questions in the right amount of time.

Maybe, if you do suffer from test anxiety, you need to learn the material "better" or more thoroughly than would someone who doesn't have stress problems. Maybe it's not fair, but that's how it is, and that's what it will take for you to get your target GMAT score.
All the Best :)

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by Bara » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:34 pm
Jaykpatel21 wrote:I've noticed a funny thing: test anxiety is worst when the test is hard. Someone who suffers from test anxiety (or claims to have problems taking tests on a computer) is just fine filling out a personality quiz online. That's a glib comparison, sure, but if the problem is the test or the computer, what's the difference?

The difference is difficulty. And therein lies the solution.

Knowing the material inside and out may not cure all of your stress. Even now, I get the jitters a little bit when I sit down to take the GMAT, and I've scored near 800 several times now. If those jitters are irrational, I don't know what is. But would you get stressed out taking a timed arithmetic quiz? Or perhaps answering questions about your job with the clock ticking? Those situations just aren't as bad.

Most importantly, you have to practice under timed conditions. That doesn't mean you need to take lots of practice tests: those are a waste of time. But you do need to practice with a stopwatch so you gain confidence answering GMAT questions in the right amount of time.

Maybe, if you do suffer from test anxiety, you need to learn the material "better" or more thoroughly than would someone who doesn't have stress problems. Maybe it's not fair, but that's how it is, and that's what it will take for you to get your target GMAT score.
All the Best :)
In my 20+ years of working with students - - the issue is typically not just difficulty with the material, but the perceived and real impact one's performance on the test has on one's future - - an online questionnaire of 'what tree you'd be' or your 'test your travel prowess' are not created to freak you out -- they're a type of marketing whose purpose is to draw you in. A high-stakes test like the GMAT - - GRE, SAT, USMLE tc., that decides your future in the micro and macro sense, has the potential to be a helluva lot more jarring to our nervous systems. Thus: a way to regulate in the worst of conditions and most difficult of question sets.

Plus: anxiety about the GMAT may have roots from testing in general or self-judgment or even something they've struggled with for many years, even though they've proved time and again, they really ARE good at math. That 3rd-grade teacher said one thing off hand about their math skills, and for the past umpteen years, anxiety has just been in tow, and they've not done anything about it. It would be GREAT and EASY if getting over anxiety was just content mastery, and for some, it might, but for many, it's not.

Yes, people will get more stressed out if they feel they're not performing in a way they'd like (though ask many-a-test taker, and they don't always track correctly 'how' they're doing....so IMHO, yes, it's important to have content mastery, but as important, is mastery over oneself. Ask any Olympic athlete who performs outdoors - - they're not going get any more stressed out when the weather conditions are brutal -- they know to lean into their skills, knowledge, and intuition which they've been nurturing and not let flurries faze them. A test taker benefits by the same mental ninja skills. Tests don't only measure what you know....they also measure how well you take tests.
Bara Sapir, MA, CHt, CNLP
Founder/CEO City Test Prep
Maximize your Score, Minimize your Stress!
GMAT Badass and Test Anxiety Relief Expert
SPEEDREADING: https://citytestprep.com/mindflow-workshops/
ANXIETY RELIEF: https://citytestprep.com/mindfulness-therapy/
BOOK: https://tinyurl.com/TPNYSC
TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McA4aqCNS-c