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 Post subject: Drilled down & Analyzed GMAT performance. Please Help!
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:02 am 
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Students


Posts: 8
Hi Stacey,

I studied for the GMAT extensively and concentratedly over 5 months (after taking classes) and also used a scientific approach toward the end involving analyzing strength/weaknesses and optimization of time.

Month 1(November,2011 ):
OG 10th Edition- Completed all questions in Quant & Verbal.
Reviewed wrong Q/A after every 10 days and maintained a log.

Month 2 (December 2012) :
Week 1/2 Completed OG 12th Edition. Maintained a log similarly and reviewed wrong question/answers religiously.
Read and practised Manhattan Sentence Correction Guide.

Week 3/4 Did practice tests. GMAT Prep, MGMAT 1,2,3 and 4 Princeton, 3 Kaplan tests (scores written below)

Took the GMAT on 28th December. Unfortunately there was a huge mishap. My markers were off ill writing quality and disrupted my Quant section; they had to replace at least 15-20 markers. I was devastated after all my prep. Nevertheless I fought for my right as I never got an equal opportunity/chance to adequately perform. After due consideration, Pearson Vue sympathized with my situation and waived my test, marking it as a Testing Irregularity(T) and granted me a re-take free of cost.
I never saw my score as I chose NOT to 'Report My Score' after the Test Attempt and eventually GMAC and Pearson agreed to mark it as 'T' in my score report. I took a new date of March 6th, due to some NGO volunteering commitments I had.

Month 3 (January):
After being devastated for about a week, I picked myself up to embark on getting the GMAT score I deserve.
Took a break for sometime and was busy volunteering for an NGO and trying to get my mind off things. I also consciously did more things for fun like tennis and gumming, that would enable me to recharge my batteries. I practiced questions on an ad-hoc basis but nothing very serious since my test was 2 months away and I had already prepped. I also got the MGMAT Scratch pad and marker to practice and used that for all practice/test from this point on. (The marker and scratch pad had been an element of uncertainty the first time around)

Month 4:(February 2012):
I continued giving practice tests. Also started using MGMAT Strategy Guides on an ad-hoc basis. I got hold of PowerScore CR Bible and used Manhattan SC Guide as a reference point. I drilled down on test performance and started keeping a log sheet of my overall scores, section raw scores and my mistakes.

Month 5( March, 2012):
Since I was supposed to take the GMAT on March 6th I had exhausted all these tests by 2nd March. However, the last few days before the test I had severe anxiety problems arising mostly out of the mishap that happened in my previous attempt along with timing issues in my last 2-3 MGMAT tests. I was barely able to complete the Quant Section in MGMAT and almost always had to rush through the last 5 questions or so. This compounded my fear that I may not do well despite my MGMAT scores that were in the 670-710 range. Keeping this in mind, I decided to postpone my test on the eve of my exam to March 30th, with a conscious decision that I would focus on fine tuning my prep (by focussing on my timing issues) that could help calm my nerves and possibly reduce the level of anxiety I would feel while doing a Test. I did not want to take the GMAT without leaving any stone unturned.

Last 3 weeks (March 2012) :
I spent a few days strategizing, making a strength/weakness matrix using the raw data from MGMAT Student Center of Test Performance(Right & Fast, Right & Slow, Wrong & Fast, Wrong & Slow etc). I identified these areas (in terms of Content Area & Question type) and over the next 3 weeks began exclusively focussing on them(along with timing) to hone my strengths and learn content in my weaker areas or to know where to cut my losses.(I could share my drill-down my analysis with you if you require). I then revised these problem areas using MGMAT Strategy Guides. I figured if I did this I would have a better chance of being more confident and calm and thus ensuring I could cross 700 or otherwise, reach my optimum score. To be honest though I ended up spending a lot more time on Quant than Verbal. I did not do too many tests in the last two weeks, since I had already done most of them and did not want to over saturate myself. Just one GMAT Prep repeat, a Veritas test prep, and 2 Kaplan Tests.


My test scores of GMAT Prep and MGMAT are as under under official test conditions:
GMAT Prep 1: :660 (Q48,V34)
GMAT Prep 2(20/12/2011) :670 (Q47,V36)
MGMAT 1 (15/12/11) :620 (Q41, V34)
MGMAT 2 (23/12/2011) :710 (Q44, V42)
MGMAT 3 (26/12/2011) :660 (Q44, V36)
Break in studying
MGMAT 4 (27/02/2012) :700 (Q47, V38)
MGMAT 5 (01/03/2012) :680 (Q47, V36)
MGMAT 6 (02/03/2012) :690 (Q43, V40)
GMAT Prep 1(Repeat) :700 (Forgot to write down the breakup)
Veritas GMAT Prep (27/03/2012) :670 (Q47, V34)

30th March: D day came. Went through the AWA section with ease.
Found the quant easy and was able to keep to time without getting nervous/ anxious and was thus able to keep my confidence while feeling I'm doing well. Started to get fatigued in the Verbal section but ensured that I make an educated guess and move on if I did not know the answer to a question, keeping in mind SC Rules and PowerScore Critical Reasoning mental frameworks. Was able to finish verbal after guessing the last odd question.

Score screen flashed by.
Official GMAT Score: 640 (Q49,V27) AWA 6.0

I was thrilled with my Quant breakup but shocked to see how my Verbal could plummet to such a low. Statistically speaking, I had not ever got a Verbal score less than 34.

Could you please help me figure out what went wrong in the test. Was it pure fatigue and exhaustion that allowed my performance to slip to this level or could their be genuine gaps in my verbal content that were not being reflected in my mock test scores. Like I said, I did spend a lot less time on Verbal in the last 3 weeks of March before the test, devoting much more time to Quant.

Any insight would be really appreciated. I have really toiled in the last 5 months and its taken me time to come to terms with my score but I want to do everything I can do get a 700+ score and maximize my chances of attending a top B- School. I am eager to do what it takes.

Please do help, Manhattan Staff. I would be super grateful to you all.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Drilled down & Analyzed GMAT performance. Please Help!
 Post Posted: Fri May 04, 2012 7:06 pm 
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ManhattanGMAT Staff


Posts: 7601
Location: San Francisco
Did you take our class? If so, then you're eligible for a free Post-Exam Assessment (if you haven't done it already). This is a phone call with an instructor to figure out what went wrong and come up with a plan to re-take the test. If this applies to you, please send an email to studentservices@manhattangmat.com and request the Post-Exam Assessment.

I'm about halfway through your post now, where you're talking about the anxiety that you were experiencing. In general, continuing on the same path that's already causing you anxiety is likely to continue causing you anxiety. You were feeling (at that point, from what I've read so far) that you had to do *everything* - every last problem, make sure you knew everything and could handle everything, make sure that they couldn't surprise you, ... but you can't actually ensure that. Trying to do that just raises your anxiety level.

Okay, I'm going to keep reading now.

Okay, so quant performance held up on the real test, but verbal dropped. Yes, it does sound likely that mental fatigue was one factor in the score drop. You were actually feeling it during the test. A lot of people say that they weren't feeling mentally fatigued even when they were because adrenaline makes them feel like they have energy. So if you actually were conscious of it, then you were likely experiencing some pretty significant mental fatigue.

You also mention having to guess on the last question - was that because you didn't know how to do it or because you were running out of time? If you were running out of time, then there was also a timing factor that led to the score drop.

Finally, the fact that you didn't do much verbal in the final 3 weeks also probably hurt you. You didn't have all of the verbal stuff at the "top of your mind" in the first place, and then you were mentally fatigued... and you were possibly also dealing with timing problems. The combination of those three things would definitely bring your score down.

It's also possible that there are holes in your knowledge / skills, yes - but at the least I'm guessing that there were things you once knew or skills you once had but they faded a bit since you weren't doing much verbal for nearly a month.

So what to do now? The test is changing on June 5th, so you'll have to decide whether you have time to do what you need to do before then or whether you're going to have to take the new test (which means studying for the new section, Integrated Reasoning).

If it's possible to get it done before June 5th, that would be ideal - but don't rush yourself and don't stress yourself out the way you did before. Studying for this test is not a matter of doing thousands of practice problems and 10+ practice tests. It's a matter of *deeply* analyzing and reviewing a much smaller pool of material.

For stress management, look at this:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... anagement/

For what to do and how to study, read:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... -the-gmat/

If you're eligible for a PEA, go sign up right now. If not, you can use this article to analyze your most recent MGMAT CATs:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... ice-tests/

And then come back here to tell us your analysis and what you think you should do about it. If you do that, I also want you to read the "studying and struggling" article and tell me WHY the way you were studying before was causing burnout and stress and HOW you need to change the way you study going forward.

_________________
Stacey Koprince
Instructor
Director of Online Community
ManhattanGMAT


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 Post subject: Re: Drilled down & Analyzed GMAT performance. Please Help!
 Post Posted: Sat May 05, 2012 5:45 am 
Offline
Students


Posts: 8
Thank you for your reply.

Is it possible though that from a Verbal score of 40 in MGMAT 6 on 2nd March I dropped to a V27 on the actual GMAT on 30th March?

Yes I did less Verbal as compared to Quant in the 25 days to the exam, but I did 3-4 full length tests in between(with review) and started concentrating on Verbal in the last 10 days before the exam. (RC Passage, SC errors I made along with Manhattan SC and CR Question type categories and what to look out for and not using PowerScore). Could this kind of gap have allowed for not having 'verbal techniques at the top of my mind'? As you rightly said, fatigue was definitely something I was conscious of when I reached the Verbal section so it was quite likely a contributor to the drop in performance. Also, I did face some pacing issues toward the middle of my Verbal section especially during the RC passages. Since I had read the Manhattan Pacing forums I monitoring myself and tried to correct these issues as and when I could, although yes during the end I did find myself a little short of time and had to guess.

Unfortunately, I'm not a Manhattan student as I'm based out of India. Is there any way I can get a post exam assessment by paying a fee or maybe some sort of online tutoring for Verbal? Please do let me know. In the meantime, I will go through the links you posted and post my takeaways here.

Many thanks for your help!


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 Post subject: Re: Drilled down & Analyzed GMAT performance. Please Help!
 Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2012 3:20 pm 
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ManhattanGMAT Staff


Posts: 7601
Location: San Francisco
It's possible that your non-attention to verbal for a while was a factor, yes, but from what you described, I'd guess that the two main factors were the timing problems and the mental fatigue.

Yes, we do offer online tutoring. You can essentially do a PEA-type assessment with a tutor online - you don't need to buy a whole tutoring package. You would sign up for 2 hours of tutoring and tell whoever is signing you up what you're interested in doing.

Specifically, you would want:
- a test review
- an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses
- a plan for what to do going forward

Note that a plan will not consist literally of day-to-day activities for months of time. The tutor will help you set priorities and talk about how you should be studying, what kinds of activities to do, and so on. But part of your task will be to learn how to determine your strengths and weaknesses and how to set your priorities, because those change over time, and you then need to be able to adjust your individual study sessions accordingly.

This is all assuming that you do just one session with a tutor. If you were to work with the tutor regularly, then s/he would periodically assess your changing strengths and weaknesses and tell you how to adjust. Anyway, if you want to find out more about that, contact our office - you can send an email to studentservices@manhattangmat.com and ask someone to call you, or you can call us on skype; our skype ID is "m.gmat"

_________________
Stacey Koprince
Instructor
Director of Online Community
ManhattanGMAT


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 Post subject: Re: Drilled down & Analyzed GMAT performance. Please Help!
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:04 am 
Offline
Students


Posts: 8
Hi Stacey

I tried adding MGMAT on the Skype ID m.gmat but my request has not been approved yet.

I also went through the articles 'Studying for- and struggling with- the GMAT. Since I had already been reading MGMAT blogs extensively I was already aware of the 3 areas emphasized here and began working upon them.

However, I'm going to go ahead and post how I was doing on the three main aspects.

1. Time Management : I postponed my existing GMAT date by 20 days to focus exclusively on managing time. What I discovered was that timing issues were leading to anxiety and often panic when I was left with less time towards the end of a section. By the end of my exercise in improving time management and forming a quad-matrix (Right & Fast, Right & Slow, Wrong & Fast, Wrong & Slow)- I was able to categorize my strengths and weakness according to Content Area and Type of Question. I also felt much better KNOWING what they were and more in control. I started feeling confident with this new information. I formulated a strategy on how much time I should spend on an average on say a tough combinatorics or geometry question (that i would get right according to the MGMAT stats albeit with a little over 3 minutes) or a question on modifiers (that I would end up spending close to 3 minutes and yet get wrong).

2.Content- I focused a lot on content too. I identified topics where there gaps in knowledge for example like I was taking over 3.5 minutes to solve difficult problems on geometry or circles and cyclingers. Inequalities was another topic that I would use traditional solving methods and thus end up spending 4 minutes plus. I corrected these before the exam and it seems to have held up (Q-49). However, my verbal practice was less deeply focussed in the last 20 days. And I did not worry too much about it since my practice test raw scores of verbal were usually in the range of 35-40.

3. How to study- I think out of all the three this is possibly one area THAT i did not truly master. While I spent a lot of time analyzing questions and I knew that I could not possibly do all kinds of questions that would appear on the GMAT, I don't think I really understood that while analyzing questions I must anticipate what other variations of the same question could be and how to go about doing them. Probably this is what left me thinking a little unilaterally rather that co-relating seemingly different questions that might have had the same underlying thought process or slight deviations. [color=#FFFF00]Clearly, what i will do going forward analyzing fewer questions more deeply and co-relating underlying patterns instead of doing hundreds of questions.

Now, I need to ask you should I allot say 2 months, study with a high focus and go for the gmat and finish it off or take my time to get my confidence in Verbal by reading and brushing up my skills in Reading Comprehension passages and Sentence Correction. The 27 in my last exam has my worried whether my skills aren't at the level I thought and was represented by the practice tests. Obviously, I still have the horror memories of my previous exam and instinctively feel the more I procrastinate and prepare myself, the more I can put away any disappointment. How do you suggest I go forward with my retake. Also, should I be worried about taking the exam again (my 1st attempt was marked a testing issue 'T' without any score due to the administration issue, 2nd attempt(free retake)= 640).

Please advice.


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 Post subject: Re: Drilled down & Analyzed GMAT performance. Please Help!
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:47 pm 
Offline
ManhattanGMAT Staff


Posts: 7601
Location: San Francisco
Quote:
I tried adding MGMAT on the Skype ID m.gmat but my request has not been approved yet.


Argh - edited because I just talked to our IT director and there's a a technical problem with our skype forwarding thingee. So, until further notice, use my "alternative" method below!

Alternatively, send an email to studentservices@manhattangmat.com with a phone number (US or Canada). Someone will contact you. (You can also just discuss whatever it is via email.)

Quote:
Clearly, what i will do going forward analyzing fewer questions more deeply and co-relating underlying patterns instead of doing hundreds of questions.


Yes, perfect.

Re: the rest, don't pick a specific timeframe yet, but keep in mind that you could study forever and still not feel 100% prepared. :) Instead, go work for the next 4 to 8 weeks (checking in here whenever you need to) and just see how things go. We'll check back in over that time and get a better idea of "when" as we see how you're making progress.

Finally, don't worry about the fact that you have a T on there. That means there was a technical problem having nothing to do with you and the schools are going to ignore that one. (It won't count as one of your 3, etc.)

_________________
Stacey Koprince
Instructor
Director of Online Community
ManhattanGMAT


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