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610 third attempt, how painful will that be ?

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610 third attempt, how painful will that be ? [#permalink] New post 25 Jan 2010, 03:16
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Dear GMAT clubbers,

Although my score is far away to be as impressive as all the 7xx's scorers, I would like your sound advice on what to do next.

So far, I have taken the test 3 times:
2007: 530 (Q35/V27)
2009: 570 (Q35/V34)
2010 (today): 610 (Q39/V35)

One can see that it has not been an easy ride for me! I have been studying the GMAT (again) since july 2009 and have used all the MGMAT books, OG 11 and 12, OG Verbal and Quant review and Powerscore CR Bible.

Although I try to focus on the fact that my scores are increasing, I feel very bored and exhausted now and wonder if it would be worth to take the test a 4th time. Putting aside all the other aspects of my apps, I would like to have your advice: is it realistic to think that my score can improve over 40 points within a month ? My major problem has been with quant. I always score lower during the real test than during my practice tests:

MGMAT 1: 620 Q41 V34
Gmatprep 1: 600 Q44 V28
Real gmat 2009: 570 Q35 V34 (super stressed)
Gmatprep 2: 690 Q44 V40
Gmatprep 3: 610 Q43 V31

Has anyone have similar experiences and if so, what do you think I should do ?

Thanks !!
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Re: 610 third attempt, how painful will that be ? [#permalink] New post 25 Jan 2010, 07:25
If you have not done so already, take a look at the GMAT math sets on this website. From what I have read, they seem to be a great source to hone in on math skills. Search for posts regarding the sets and you will find good feedback and good experiences with them.
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Re: 610 third attempt, how painful will that be ? [#permalink] New post 25 Jan 2010, 09:07
linhvn wrote:
Dear GMAT clubbers,

Although my score is far away to be as impressive as all the 7xx's scorers, I would like your sound advice on what to do next.

So far, I have taken the test 3 times:
2007: 530 (Q35/V27)
2009: 570 (Q35/V34)
2010 (today): 610 (Q39/V35)

One can see that it has not been an easy ride for me! I have been studying the GMAT (again) since july 2009 and have used all the MGMAT books, OG 11 and 12, OG Verbal and Quant review and Powerscore CR Bible.

Although I try to focus on the fact that my scores are increasing, I feel very bored and exhausted now and wonder if it would be worth to take the test a 4th time. Putting aside all the other aspects of my apps, I would like to have your advice: is it realistic to think that my score can improve over 40 points within a month ? My major problem has been with quant. I always score lower during the real test than during my practice tests:

MGMAT 1: 620 Q41 V34
Gmatprep 1: 600 Q44 V28
Real gmat 2009: 570 Q35 V34 (super stressed)
Gmatprep 2: 690 Q44 V40
Gmatprep 3: 610 Q43 V31

Has anyone have similar experiences and if so, what do you think I should do ?

Thanks !!



Hi linhvn,

Have you only used books for preparation? What have been your study methods? Have you made lists of all the problems that you've missed in practice tests and categorized them according to topic? Sometimes simple things like a more systematic approach to studying can help with push you to the next level.

If you have any friends who are high scorers, you may want to ask them if they are available to walk you through their process to see if you can gain any insight. Another alternative is always private tutoring.

All of this being said, many consultants suggest simply focusing on your application if you are within 50 points of the needed score on your GMAT. With one month before the application, it may be better if you spend that time honing your essays and explaining why you are an excellent candidate for your target program.

If you would like help with either your essays or with tutoring, let us know. We offer a discount to candidates coming from GMAT club so be sure to mention this thread!
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Re: 610 third attempt, how painful will that be ? [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2010, 03:42
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Wow... and I thought I was the only one.

Here are my scores:

Jan 09: 520 (28V 33Q)
April 09: 590 (28V 43Q)
Jan 10: 620 (35V 39Q) <-- this sort of ticked me off, dropping in Quant

I took the GMAT in January of last year after studying for about 2 months. I guess I wasn't studying hard enough. I guess I was telling myself, "I can do this, this is easy." So I didn't achieve as high as I thought I would. So I decided to give it another 3 months and try again. I don't know what is wrong with my study habits... Still didn't do so hot that time either. So I took a break from GMAT for many months and decided I needed to apply for school again for the following term. I started studying in mid-October 09 and probably took only a handful of days off from studying. Other than that, I had been studying between 2 to 8 hours a day, sometimes even more than that when I felt like it. I just took the test yesterday... I was HOPING to score a 700 (like everyone else on the forums), and I really thought I could too. I scored 640 three times in a row on the MGMAT. I made a 620 on the GMATPrep test once, scoring a 47Q and a mere 29 or 30 on Verbal... I just thought that maybe it wasn't my day for verbal, but at least I still had a strong quant. I usually averaged about 44-47 on Quant and 33-35 on Verbal. So I decided if I wanted to get a 700, I would have to either: a) increase my verbal to 40 or b) increase my quant to 49, both of which I thought would be possible in 2 or 3 weeks. This is because when I scored the 640's, I knew I was wasting time on many of the Quant questions. I had been spending 6-7 mins on about 2 problems and was forced to speed guess near the end just to finish in time. Same with a few questions in Verbal too. I knew my CR was pretty solid (or I think) because I missed only 2 on the GMAT Prep. The rest were RC and SC. I could strengthen SC by simply practicing and practicing, which I did for the next few days. I started to learn all the tricks of SC and began answering the GPSC_question.doc at about 90%. I felt confident that my SC was getting really, really strong. I could spot answers quick. All that was left was RC... and I knew I just had to find the answers if I read carefully. Many times it was all about the topic of the article. But I knew that it was sort of too late to polish that, so 2 out of 3 in Verbal and a strong quant should be solid, right? That's what I thought.

I went in and took the test yesterday and was FLYING through the quant section. The last 5 problems I had 25 minutes left. I was getting each answer spot on, pretty much (or I thought), except some of the topics that I didn't practice much, such as absolute values (but there were only 1 or 2 of those questions). Near the end, there were a few tricky ones, but with the vast amount of extra time I had, I was able to solve each problem, no problems.

Then Verbal came... I think I was getting the SCs right. I think I was getting the CRs right. Some of the topics for RC were interesting to me, so I think I got a few of those articles right. There was one article where my mind just went blurry and I couldn't see the passage at all... it was like reading a foreign language... but I managed. I think the answers I chose were correct. In the end, I still finished with about 1 minute left.

Then all the questionnaire things came up... I was thinking to myself, "GOD DAMNIT I JUST WANT MY SCORE!" Finally, it showed up, and I got a blasted 620. I don't think it was worth it at all. I studied about 3 or 4 months for this flaming test and all I got was a 620? Albeit, a 620 is not BAD (71 percentile), but I don't think that it's a score that someone who felt so confident and studied so hard should have made. I felt kind of empty inside after seeing the score. Mainly this reason was because of two things: 1) if I had scored a 620 on one of my previous two tests, I would have been satisfied at that time. and 2) my friend studied for this test for two weeks (she just plopped down with some GMAT book and studied all day for two weeks straight) and she made a 620! She didn't even have to take the test either, she just needed to take it for some scholarship. Although my friend is hella smart (she graduated from a joint-program where you get your bachelors and masters in 5 years in only 4 years!), I still think I'm capable of a higher score than her if I studied 8 times as long as her!

Now to talk about my study habits. This is what I did for the past 4 months:
I took advice from the forums and studied one section at a time. I started with Quant. I practiced all the OG11 problems and kept an error log. I got all the easy and mid ones right and missed many of the hard ones. I then was taking one GMAT Club Test each day and practicing those problems and reviewing them as well. I was trying to get a feel of doing several hard problems in a row. Now looking back at this, I think I was doing this backasswards. Then I studied more and more quant (it's all a blur to me now what I did after), but after about 2 months I decided to switch to Verbal. I started with SC, which is what I was best at before. Reread the MGMAT SC book and practiced and practiced. I studied the Powerscore CR Bible. Practiced questions and kept an error log. I still had a problems with my quant; I couldn't formulate equations from word problems. I was recommended the MGMAT Word Translation book. I got that book and started practicing those problems, about a chapter a day. I felt improvement. Later, I learned about the Number Properties book and practiced those. Both these books helped me understand math principles a lot better, making my Quant scores higher and making me feel more comfortable when solving problems. I then switched back over to Verbal again and practiced SC/CR for a while. Then I took the test and scored the 640's...

Here is a list of the materials I used:
OG11, Verbal Review, Quant Review
MGMAT Word Translations, Number Properties, and FDP
PowerScore CR Bible
MGMAT SC Gide
GPSC_questions.doc
Multiple Idioms documents
Spideys SC notes
an Idiom excel spreadsheet
GMAT Club tests

So, I definitely feel your pain. I know this was more like a novel than a forum posting, but I really had to vent, not only after seeing your post, but since I saw it immediately after I took my test.

Now, the only thing I can do is submit my applications. I'm applying to 5 schools: UT-Austin, UW-Madision, SMU-Cox, Texas A&M-Mays, and UTDallas, in order of importance to me. I doubt I'll be able to get into UT-Austin or UW-Madison with a 620, but who knows? If I get in, then I will probably forget that I scored a 620.

But then again, if I don't, then I don't know what to do. Maybe I should save up to take the MGMAT course... :\ What really ticks me off is the Quant score I made during this last test. I made 4 points lower than last time, and like 8 points lower than my average. And that's WITH more studying... ohhh FML.
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Re: 610 third attempt, how painful will that be ? [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2010, 07:51
^ wow, so sorry to read about your troubles. You said that you were doing the Quant studying backasswards - can you elaborate on that? I am taking the test on April 10 and started studying this week - I'm doing about 4 hours per weeknight and 8 hours on saturdays. I am using almost the exact materials that you used.

PS, for those schools, I am sure a 620 would get you in assuming that your work experience and undergrad performance were at or above those schools averages for the incoming class. I would compare my details with the class profile and focus on the essays and making myself stand out. This is my plan for the school I'm applying to :)

I am only looking to score about a 500-600... I have strong work experience and strong undergrad record and feel that with the minimal score for the school's program (avg was a 610 I believe), I should be able to get in without an issue.
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Re: 610 third attempt, how painful will that be ? [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2010, 14:54
Backasswards meaning I should have studied the MGMAT books (Numb Prop, Word Trans, FDP) before I tried to take the GMAT Test Clubs. I was basically trying to do hard questions without knowing how. I was trying to LEARN from the GMAT Test Clubs, which really isn't what those tests are designed for. The tests are designed to give you practice with solving multiple hard questions in a row under a time pressured environment. The learning by using the tests is near impossible... The explanations aren't really the greatest. Even the forums don't help much. I really had to learn through the books, solve the chapter questions, practice the topic problems that were in the OG, go back and make sure my foundations were solid, THEN start practicing the GMAT test club. I had no solid foundation of quant fundamentals when I took those tests, so basically I was shooting in the dark for half the questions.

My work experience isn't the most elaborate. I have 1 year as an office peon at a hospital in Dallas at a transplant center (non-major related) and 1 year working at a restaurant where I assisted in several marketing promotions that really did help improve the restaurant's image/sales revenue. I'm going to start submitting applications this weekend.
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Re: 610 third attempt, how painful will that be ? [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2010, 19:43
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Not to be pessimistic, but if you still want to improve your score after 3!!! times and you feel you've done everything you could (after 3 times and $750 later), the easier, more effective, and cheaper (yes) way is to take a prep class. $1K-1.5K is a lot of money but it is pocket change compared to $50K tuition and $40K living expenses.

gmat-prep-courses-classes-reviews-ratings-and-comparison-78451.html
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Re: 610 third attempt, how painful will that be ?   [#permalink] 30 Jan 2010, 19:43
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