Payal Tandon
Co-founder, e-GMAT
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## 1. Background

When you spend those grueling 2 hours taking a mock test, you expect the mock to give you a lot more than just the score and question accuracy data.  You want the mock to tell you where you faltered; you want it to tell you why you faltered, and you want it to tell you how you can improve to achieve your target GMAT score.

Kashish recently took SIGma-X mock test and got all these questions answered.  Here is an account of his experience with SIGma-X mock tests.

Note: The account below is written in the first person as Kashish went through his experience with SIGma-X mocks.

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## 2. Introduction

Let me first set the stage with a very high-level sequence of events.

On April 11, I took one SIGma-X mock and scored 700.  After gaining insights from this mock, I created my improvement plan and worked on it for the next 6 days.  On April 18, I took second SIGma-X mock and scored 750, improving significantly in the quantitative section – the section I focused on during these 6 days.

I took the official GMAT exam a few days later and scored 750 (Q50, V42).

This improvement is a testament of how focused effort can help drive one’s score up significantly.

Now let’s begin with my target GMAT score.  I want to score 750 with Q50 and V42.

Target Score – 750 – Q50 + V42

## 3. WHERE (I faltered)

In the first SIGma-X mock, I scored 700 in that with Q46 and V39.  To my dismay, I was much more behind in Quant than I was in Verbal. So, I knew that I needed to improve in Quant primarily.

Next – by reviewing the sub-sectional abilities, I could clearly see that in Quant, I was way better in Algebra than I was in Arithmetic. I always knew that Arithmetic was an issue, but I did not know that it would create such big problems for me that my score will plummet so much.  I could also observe that DS was a problem across the board.

“While I always knew I was better in Algebra, I did not know the poor performance in Arithmetic will negatively impact my score so much.”

## 4. WHY (I faltered)

Now that I got the answer to “WHERE”, I was headed to find out why I faltered in the Arithmetic section of Quant.  For this, I observed that I was not skilled enough to answer difficult questions in Arithmetic.  As soon as the difficulty level of questions increased beyond a certain point, my accuracy dropped considerably. In fact, in block 3, I could not even answer a single question correctly, despite spending quite a bit of time on it.  Accordingly, in block 4, hard questions were not served to me.  So, from this, I could clearly see that the reason WHY I faltered in Arithmetic was because of my lack of ability.

Now there were definitely some timing issues as well since I did not have sufficient time left to answer questions in Block 4.  So, this also contributed to my low score in Arithmetic.

OK, next I did a further deep dive into the WHY aspect—I wanted to know what portions of Arithmetic I need to work on.  For this, I saw the attempt screen for Arithmetic.  Per this information, I could clearly see that I had some serious issues with WP and then some with NP.

Here is the process I followed to review the attempt screen.

1. Step 1 – Look at the questions I got wrong.
2. Step 2 – Ignore questions in which I did not spend sufficient time.
3. Step 3 – Draw inferences.

Note: At a first glance at the information, it appeared as if NP is a much bigger issue, but when I followed the process above, I could clearly see that I major ability issues in WP as compared to in NP.

## 5. HOW (can I improve)

Now with this information, I set out to create my plan of action for the next few days.  I knew that I had to improve my ability in WP.  So, I needed to find which aspects of WP I had a problem with.  So, I took a 30-question custom quiz in WP.  After analyzing this custom quiz, I identified the weak areas and on Day 2 and 3, I went through the corresponding course content in WP course.  On Day 4, I took an ability quiz in WP and saw that my score improved considerably.

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With this level of confidence in my ability, I repeated the process for NP.

## 6. Outcome

Now on Day 7, when I took second SIGma-X mock, I scored 750 with a Q50 – my target quant score – 4-point improvement.  In Arithmetic, I improved from Q43 to Q49 – a 6-point improvement.  I was very contented to see that my targeted efforts in Arithmetic helped this marked improvement.

While in the previous mock, I could not answer even a single Hard question in Block 3, in this attempt, I could answer 3 out of 5 hard questions correctly.  Accordingly, I got the opportunity to answer hard questions in the last block as well and did well.

Not only could I see a considerable improvement in my ability, but this improved ability also led to better time management.  While in Block 3 of the previous attempt, I spent 13 minutes of my precious time in an unproductive manner, now in this attempt, my unproductive time reduced considerably to 5’42”.

## 7. Summary

To summarize, by analyzing the WHERE and the WHY from first SIGma-X mock, I could arrive at the HOW and by focused practice using the e-GMAT course and Scholaranium, I improved considerably not only in the subsequent SIGma-X mock but also reached my target quant score in the official GMAT exam a few days later.

So, when you spend those 2 grueling hours on SIGma-X mocks, you get the WHERE—WHY—HOW and you know for sure that you can improve to your target score with focused practice.

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