Scored Well on Mocks but Failed Miserably on the Actual Test?
Nearly 6 out of 10 students we speak to agree that they scored way less on their actual test compared to what they scored in their mock tests. So, what could they have done wrong? If you score well in the mock test, shouldn’t you get a similar score in the actual GMAT test?
Some may think that the questions on the actual GMAT are tougher than those on mocks. But that is not the case! In fact, the official mock tests are closest to the official GMAT and it is highly recommended that students rely on the official mocks to get a fair idea of where they currently stand in prep. Since the GMAT algorithm is complex, it is difficult to comprehend how the scoring really works on the actual test. So, what may could have possibly gone wrong if your score in official mock was a lot higher than the score you got in the actual test?
There may be two possible reasons why that happened:
Test day pressure –
It is normal to experience some level of anxiety and nervousness on the test day. You may have put in months of effort into prep and worrying about your performance may give you the jitters. However, it is important that you do not let anxiety take the best of you. GMAT is a 3-and-a-half-hour-long test, so to perform well, you need to work on managing your stress levels. A lot of students are also unaware about the 8-minute break and eventually lose a few minutes by the time they return from the break. So it is highly recommended that you read the guidelines, know your test center before-hand, and give the test with a calm mind.
If you feel your anxiety increasing by the day, you can resort to practicing meditation, going for evening/morning walks, or performing other forms of exercise that can help reduce your stress. Taking the mocks at the same time as your test schedule can also help your body adjust to the schedule in advance.
Inconsistent application skills –
GMAT does not only test your theoretical knowledge, but also tests your application skills. While you may get lucky during the mock test by getting a few your answers correct without following the correct methodology for solving questions, it might not happen the same way in the actual test. To prevent this from happening, the best thing to do is to learn the right approach to solve questions during prep. Once you have mastered the right approach, you can correctly solve questions within 2 mins, irrespective of their difficulty level.
How to avoid score discrepancy?
As specified above, the best way to avoid discrepancy in your scores in mock test and the actual GMAT test is to learn the right methodology for solving questions. So, once you learn a particular concept, instead of jumping directly to practicing questions, you must first learn the correct approach to solve these questions, and only then move to practicing questions, taking quizzes, or mock tests. Carefully analyzing the solution of every question, whether you get them right or wrong, will also greatly contribute to gaining accuracy on GMAT. Compare your approach with the correct one, identify where you faltered, and use the correct approach to solve at least 10-15 questions using that approach to solidify your concepts further.
Remember: Book your slot for the actual test only when you start getting your desired score consistently in the mocks.
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Are you retaking the GMAT?
If you are one of those students who scored extremely well in mocks but could not score well on the actual test, we recommend you order the ESR of your attempt and see what went wrong. It will help you to analyze your performance in-depth and identify the factors that might have caused you to underperform. In many cases, people are not aware of their weaknesses, which is why their anxiety gets the better off them in the actual test. There may be some areas in which you did not follow a structured approach and an ESR analysis can help you dig deeper and plan better.
Note: Seeking guidance from a mentor is always an added advantage to your GMAT Prep. Make sure to get in touch with a mentor, understand what’s wrong with your approach, come up with a study plan and start studying. This is how you should plan your preparation for a retake. If you want an expert to take a look at your ESR, book a call with us for a free ESR analysis.