So you have taken the GMAT mock and scored a somewhere between 600 and 650. You are heartbroken and dejected as your target score is somewhere above the 700 level.
Firstly don’t be dejected !!!
The good news is that now that you know where you are and also know your target score , with hardwork and the right plan you can achieve your target score on the GMAT !!!
Remember the age old adage – What cannot be measured cannot be improved.
If you have taken an official GMAT Mock such as the one you get when you download the GMAT prep software or Exam pack 1 or 2 , then your current score should be an accurate estimate of the level on the actual exam.
However remember that now that you know where you stand you are in a good position to improve it further. Even Usain Bolt did not improve his timing to the world record level before knowing where he was and knowing what he wanted to achieve.
After you have taken the mock , the next few days should be spent analyzing the mock.
Make a note of the following things ; you can use either excel or a scratch pad for the following.
- Did you take the exam in the actual exam conditions – if not then your score might be on the higher side because in actual exam conditions your stress level is higher.
- Did you finish the exam on time; If you did not finish the exam on time then on what section did you struggle with your timing ( We will come back to timing later).
- Make a note of the the question on which you struggled for a long time and wasted a lot of time.
- Make a note of all the correct and incorrect questions that you attempted and list them down after breaking into sub-categories. For example make a table something like this below
|Comparison – 3||2||1|
|Modifiers – 4||3||1|
You should do this activity for all the sections – Quant – break the questions first into PS and DS and for Verbal break the questions into SC , CR and RC and then subdivide into various sections.
Also make a special note of the easy questions that you got incorrect. Remember that the GMAT places a big penalty on getting the easy questions incorrect hence it’s very important that you make a note of such questions and identify the exact reason of getting these questions wrong.
Now that you have done all the Maths on the questions its time to do some further analysis.
Start with the incorrect questions – solve all the incorrect questions again without any time boundation and analyze the reason for which you got them incorrect. Some of the common reasons could be
- The underlying concept in the question not clear. (Category 1)
- Careless mistake (Category 2)
- Skipped the question because of lack of time. (Category 1)
- The question stem/passage was not very clear.(Category 1)
Next go through the correctly answered questions and make a note on the following types of questions
- Questions that you got correct but took a long time to answer – you should analyze in detail why you took longer than usual time to answer this question. (Category 1)
- Question that you got correct and that took you lesser time than usual – these are your strength areas and you should make a note of this area as well.
- Create an error log and put all your incorrect questions in the error log. Confused what is an error log and how to create one.
The category 1 questions are the ones that you have to spend your energy on in the next few days.
For example your category 1 areas consist of the following
- Comparison – Sentence correction.
- Dangling modifiers – Sentence correction.
- Assumptions – Critical reasoning
- Bold face – Critical reasoning
- Sociology passage – Reading comprehension
- Inference questions – Reading comprehension
- Geometry – Problem solving
- Geometry – Data sufficiency
Make a Timeline and a schedule to revise the above listed topics.
The best way to do is to first revise the topic in detail. Once you have done so pick out relevant questions from OG /Verbal review/GMAT prep and solve them thoroughly – not just looking out for the right answer but eliminating the wrong answer for the right reason. A lot of students make the mistake of going through the correct answer choice and skimming through the incorrect ones but it is the incorrect answer choices from which you learn the most. Make sure you know the reason as to why you are eliminating the incorrect answer choice. If you eliminate the incorrect answer choice , thinking that this does not sound correct or not able to point to the exact reason then you need to go back and revise the topic again !!!
Another important point is to keep revising your strength areas. Remember that you need to keep practicing those even if these are your strength areas.
Remember that Reading comprehension is the most important part of Verbal on the GMAT so keep practicing the RCs even if you are good at time throughout your preparation.
Take a mock again after you have taken the steps outlined above and make sure that you don’t repeat any of the careless mistakes that you did earlier. Also before taking any mock exam make sure to read through your analysis of the previous mocks.
A lot of students think that their problem is not being able to finish the exam on time and in the process they skip a few questions.
Time constraint is almost always a result of gaps in concepts that in turn lead to some spending more time than usual on questions.
“A building whose foundation is weak , will either today or tomorrow collapse under pressure but a building whose foundation is strong , will survive the test of time.”
Make your foundation rock solid !!!
Good luck with your GMAT preparation !!!