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660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake?

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660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2011, 13:14
Hi All,

I wrote my first GMAT in Dec 2009 and got a 660 (Q45,V36).

The first time I took, I booked the test on Nov 19,2009 and took it on Dec 28, 2009. I don't think I even studied for verbal properly. I did like the first 2 or 3 RCs from OG12 and the first 20-30 questions in CR and SC from the same book. I studied for quant from OG12 and again did only the first 50-60 questions from each section.

I took my test again today and got 710-92 %ile.
Q47-76%ile
V40- 89%ile

I am somewhat disappointed with the score as I was expecting atleast a 730+ to compensate for my horrendously low GPA: 2.6 in electrical engineering. I know someone from my school who apparently had a 3.5+ and a 720 and he didn't even get an interview invite from a single school (granted he applied only to M7s).

So should I retake? I have heard conflicting evidence on retakes. Some say that a high GMAT (say 750+) is needed to compensate for a low GPA. Some say GMAT is just one of the data points and any score over 700 is good enough. This score tells the adcoms that you have the appropriate quant and verbal skills to succeed in b-school. My personal view is that I will try this application season. If I don't get in, I will take the GMAT again (although I dread it). I must say that if I had a GPA over 3.0 I will NOT be in a confusion whether to retake or not.

I believe my essays are strong and am very clear on what I want to do post MBA but I was laid off a few weeks ago. This score is good enough for the local schools but not for the top American schools. Btw I sent my score report to Booth, Wharton, HBS and a couple of other schools. My score is lower than the average of all these schools.

So should I retake? Any and all opinions welcome!

My prep scores are as follows:
GMATPrep1: 710
MGMAT1: 670
MGMAT2: 740(Q47,V44)
MGMAT3: 730(Q46,V44)
MGMAT4: 760 (Q49,V45)
GMATPrep2: 720

Materials used:

OG12, OG Quant and Verbal review, and Manhattan strategy guides.

I think the reason for my low verbal score is because I had to rush my last 3-4 questions. I only had about 2 minutes for them. This is odd because whenever I did GMATpreps I used to finish verbal with 3-4 minutes to spare. I think I tried to take it slow, and it got too slow. SCs also did me in. Most of the time I could narrow down to 2 choices and then I would be screwed.

For the test takers out there:

Make an error log: I think not making an error log was my biggest mistake. I did a whole LOT of questions, but when I got something wrong I would never go back to check what went wrong. I would just glance over the explanation and move on. Do not make this mistake!! I think this is what cost me my SCs.

Eat properly: I got very very hungry during the last 15 minutes in verbal. I had a banana after my essays and a banana again after my quant section, but still I became very hungry.

Focus on verbal: Quants are, imo, getting ridiculously tough. I mean I got a 47 and am still in the 76%ile. IMO focusing on the verbal sections will probably boost your score a lot more than focusing on quant will.

Regards,

gijoedude.

PS: Big big thanks to GMATClub!!! I was able to improve my quant score thanks to the GMATClub tests. I was languishing around 45 or so but GMATClub helped me raise it to 47 which is, for me, a big deal as I have always considered quant my weak area.
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Last edited by gijoedude on 20 Aug 2011, 14:01, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2011, 13:28
Some additional information:

Citizenship: Indian
Education: Top Canadian school. Top 15 school in the world for engineering.
Work experience: 2 years in engineering and project management in the railroad industry at a top European F500. Laid off.
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2011, 18:57
Risky. Your scores are inline with your Gmatprep scores. If you don't do significantly better on a 3rd try, 740 and above, it doesn't look great. If your score falls below 710, you're gonna be in doo doo.
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 20 Aug 2011, 22:09
Waterloo grad I'm guessing? :P How are your extra currics? and other leadership involvements...
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2011, 07:58
Mahtab wrote:
Waterloo grad I'm guessing? :P How are your extra currics? and other leadership involvements...


No. The *other* top school :-D . My ECs, both in and after school, are great. So is my leadership involvement.
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2011, 14:52
Can you elaborate more how you increased your quant score?
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2011, 07:33
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prasrush2001 wrote:
Can you elaborate more how you increased your quant score?



Hi,

To increase your quant I have the following to say:

1) Get the 5 MGMAT books. Each book is divided into chapters. At the end of each chapter there are (usually) 15 questions. Do ALL the questions in ALL the chapters in ALL the books. Once you do this your quant skills will be excellent. When you complete one book, do the associated questions from OG12 and Quant Review books as well.

2) Doing the above took me to Q45 or so. But what took me to Q47, in my opinion, are the GMATClub tests. These are by-far the best quant tests (apart from GMATPrep, obviously). GMATClub tests especially helped me in data sufficiency. I was very bad at DS. But that section improved dramatically once I started doing GMATClub tests. I went from a hit rate of 40% to about 80%. Some say the quants in MGMAT CATs are good. I disagree. The questions are usually way too long. I haven't seen a single GMAT question that required me to do 3 or 4 intermediate steps to arrive at the answer. But GMATClub test questions are succinct. The structure of the question is very similar to that of the real GMAT. MGMAT CATs make you CALCULATE. GMATClub tests make you THINK. And I noticed that GMAT is more about getting the concepts right than about brute force math.

If you follow the above I believe you should be set for quant. Best of luck!!
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2011, 09:55
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Hm... it sounds like raising your quant would be the easiest thing (as pointed out) you can get to a great score with Q50 V40 (750). That was Walker's Score. I got 750 with Q49, V42..... with such Low GPA you may want to. I would also encourage you to get a second opinion for YOUR particular schools from the admissions consultants (free profile evaluation) just in case so you don't waste time.

Usually 710 is a GREAT score, however.
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2011, 10:46
bb wrote:
Hm... it sounds like raising your quant would be the easiest thing (as pointed out) you can get to a great score with Q50 V40 (750). That was Walker's Score. I got 750 with Q49, V42..... with such Low GPA you may want to. I would also encourage you to get a second opinion for YOUR particular schools from the admissions consultants (free profile evaluation) just in case so you don't waste time.

Usually 710 is a GREAT score, however.


Hi bb,

For schools in my country, 710 is a good 40-50 points above average. I have even talked to adcoms and they are also impressed by my profile and stats. So in that sense 710 is more than enough.

But I am also aiming for top American schools (Harvard, Wharton, Booth). Only for these schools I can justify to myself the big loans and the US visa risks (for international students) and the bad US economy. But I don't think I have that much of a chance in these schools due to my GPA (I am going to apply anyways though).

I guess I have some more thinking to do.
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2011, 11:38
gijoedude wrote:
bb wrote:
Hm... it sounds like raising your quant would be the easiest thing (as pointed out) you can get to a great score with Q50 V40 (750). That was Walker's Score. I got 750 with Q49, V42..... with such Low GPA you may want to. I would also encourage you to get a second opinion for YOUR particular schools from the admissions consultants (free profile evaluation) just in case so you don't waste time.

Usually 710 is a GREAT score, however.


Hi bb,

For schools in my country, 710 is a good 40-50 points above average. I have even talked to adcoms and they are also impressed by my profile and stats. So in that sense 710 is more than enough.

But I am also aiming for top American schools (Harvard, Wharton, Booth). Only for these schools I can justify to myself the big loans and the US visa risks (for international students) and the bad US economy. But I don't think I have that much of a chance in these schools due to my GPA (I am going to apply anyways though).

I guess I have some more thinking to do.



This is true - 710 is a great score and it would only be worthwhile retaking if you wanted Harvard, Wharton etc. You should be very proud of yourself!!
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2011, 08:35
gijoedude wrote:
prasrush2001 wrote:
Can you elaborate more how you increased your quant score?



Hi,

To increase your quant I have the following to say:

1) Get the 5 MGMAT books. Each book is divided into chapters. At the end of each chapter there are (usually) 15 questions. Do ALL the questions in ALL the chapters in ALL the books. Once you do this your quant skills will be excellent. When you complete one book, do the associated questions from OG12 and Quant Review books as well.

2) Doing the above took me to Q45 or so. But what took me to Q47, in my opinion, are the GMATClub tests. These are by-far the best quant tests (apart from GMATPrep, obviously). GMATClub tests especially helped me in data sufficiency. I was very bad at DS. But that section improved dramatically once I started doing GMATClub tests. I went from a hit rate of 40% to about 80%. Some say the quants in MGMAT CATs are good. I disagree. The questions are usually way too long. I haven't seen a single GMAT question that required me to do 3 or 4 intermediate steps to arrive at the answer. But GMATClub test questions are succinct. The structure of the question is very similar to that of the real GMAT. MGMAT CATs make you CALCULATE. GMATClub tests make you THINK. And I noticed that GMAT is more about getting the concepts right than about brute force math.

If you follow the above I believe you should be set for quant. Best of luck!!


Thanks for your advice.. seems like good idea..

You brought up a good thing about MGMAT.. I gave one GMAT Prep and one MGMAT.. I felt MGMAT somewhat difficult and lengthy .. I got quant 46 in GMAT Prep whereas 43 in MGMAT.. I will follow your advice for quant..

now you have given feedback about quant.. can you also give some insight on verbal score improvement. Just to let you know when I gave last time MGMAT Test 1, I score V 33..mainly weak in SC and CR..
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2011, 10:23
prasrush2001 wrote:

Thanks for your advice.. seems like good idea..

You brought up a good thing about MGMAT.. I gave one GMAT Prep and one MGMAT.. I felt MGMAT somewhat difficult and lengthy .. I got quant 46 in GMAT Prep whereas 43 in MGMAT.. I will follow your advice for quant..

now you have given feedback about quant.. can you also give some insight on verbal score improvement. Just to let you know when I gave last time MGMAT Test 1, I score V 33..mainly weak in SC and CR..


Hi,

To improve Verbal I would suggest the following:

RC: For RC, imo the OG and the Verbal Review are enough. I suggest you start with the verbal review and then do the OG. This is because VR is easier than OG. To improve this section I followed Rhyme's method (search for it on the forum). This DRAMATICALLY improved my verbal scores. Infact on MGMAT2, 3 and 4 I think I only got 2 or 3 questions wrong for the 3 tests put together.

CR: Frankly, this is just practice. MGMAT is good here. As is the PowerScore Verbal Bible. This website has TONS of CR questions. But make sure that the source is credible. Bad CR questions will jeopardize your score by messing up with the way you think about solving them. This website also has a collection of GMATPrep questions. Make sure you do these AFTER you have done your GMATPrep tests. Otherwise you might see some repeat questions in GMATPrep and this will inflate your scores.

SC: To be honest SC is my weakest link. I usually went "by the ear". But before that I went through MGMAT SC book. This is a VERY good book. If you have read this book, you should have SC covered. Again, SC is also about practice.

Here is my general study method:

I had OG12 and the Verbal review for my questions. Whenever I used to complete a chapter in a MGMAT book, I would do the associated question in the Verbal and Quant Review. I did this because I wanted to strengthen my understanding of that particular chapter. First I would tackle the regular sections then ONLY after gaining an understanding of it would I go to the advanced sections.

When I was done with the Verbal and Quant review I attacked OG12. In this book I just went in order from the beginning. I did this because when you go in order the concepts being tested are mixed. So you might have one question in ratio and then you might have the next one in geometry and the one after in algebra. This way you have to fully focus as you can't anticipate what's next, somewhat like the GMAT environment.

Also make sure you have an error log. I didn't have it and I think it was the biggest mistake I ever made.

All the best!
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Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake? [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2011, 10:11
Thanks a bunch.. I will follow this.. Anyway all the best for application..
Re: 660->710(Q47,V40). Somewhat disappointed. Should I retake?   [#permalink] 28 Aug 2011, 10:11
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