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Am I Too Dumb to Score 720+ on the GMAT?

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Am I Too Dumb to Score 720+ on the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2013, 13:49
So basically, I took the GMAT and got a 660, which obviously isn't a great score. Before I started studying, I took a GMAT cold and scored around 550 without studying. My GMAT score only went up because I studied the Manhattan GMAT Guide and OG 12, which seemed to be the consensus tools on here for improving one's score. However, after studying both of them, I still couldn't break 700 and I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm just not smart enough to get into the 700s. The MBA schools I am aiming for will likely demand at least a 700 and I'm aiming for 720, but I'm just really frustrated because it seems that either people naturally score around what I did without studying or were able to get into the 700s after studying the MGMAT, which I didn't end up doing either.

Has anyone scored in the range I did after their first test and still managed to break 720+? I'm extremely disappointed with myself at this point and don't really know what to do, particularly with regards to my verbal score (RC is fine, the others are pulling me down badly though).
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Re: Am I Too Dumb to Score 720+ on the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2013, 18:29
For Critical Reasoning try the "Powerscore CR bible", it'll really help you improve your CR scores. 660 in the first GMAT attempt is not a bad score at all. After you finish taking any practice test, go back to the verbal section and see where you went wrong and understand the correct way of solving those problems. Also prepare an error log, so that you don't make the same mistakes again. Your score will definitely improve. But first you need to stop thinking about your previous attempt and be positive. Probably take a break for a week and after that start with a fresh mind. I'm sure you'll make it! Good luck!
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Re: Am I Too Dumb to Score 720+ on the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2013, 20:37
The quick answer? Nope, you're definitely not too dumb to score 720+ on the GMAT. And the GMAT doesn't really have much to do with how dumb or smart you are, anyway... but it's undeniably a spectacular measure of how well you fill in little bubbles under tremendous time pressure. :)

The truth is that it's really, really hard to improve from a 550 to a 660 to a 720, but it definitely does happen. Here, check out one of my all-time favorite GMAT Club stories: 420-570-590-700-harvard-business-school-132221.html. He didn't quite get to a 720, but he did get a 700 and an admit to HBS... and he's an Indian male! My favorite part is when that very same guy went on an MGMAT forum, and some (perhaps fake?) admissions consultant told him that he had no prayer of getting into HBS. Classic.

So sure, some people naturally score a 700 without trying too hard, but those people are freaks, and you don't need to talk to them right now.

The bottom line is that you can absolutely collect another 40+ points if you put in enough work. Honestly, I find it encouraging that your RC is strong; that's a sign that you aren't inherently an imprecise reader, and you're probably capable of bumping up your CR and SC skills. SC is particularly "learnable": if you can become absolutely bulletproof at recognizing the most commonly tested SC issues (pronouns, parallelism, modifier placement, comparisons, etc.), you'll be fine. And if your reading is strong enough to be a killer on RC, you can ultimately get to the same level on CR. Keep practicing with official materials for CR and RC (OG, verbal supplement, GMATPrep Question Pack, LSAT if you need some extra questions), and you'll get there.

Good luck, and don't let this stupid test get you down!
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Re: Am I Too Dumb to Score 720+ on the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2013, 12:46
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I don't think anyone is incapable of getting a score they want. It just requires more work/time for some people than others.

I got a 550 my first time around, 660 my second time around and am practice scoring a 710 at this point with a little less than a month and a half of study time left - which means I'll hopefully only get better between now and then!

You just need to figure out the test. If you have quant figured out (scoring 47+), start tackling verbal. You say you're good with reading comp, and there really isn't a whole lot you can prepare for with RC as it's difficult to do anything but the OG stuff. SC and CR are master-able. They only test you on a finite number of concepts. Once you learn those concepts, move onto the practice and drill them down. Figure out what your weaknesses are from there and keep going over those concepts. It's not likely that'll you go over all of these and come out unsure of every concept, you'll probably be able to remove a few from your intense studying and concentrate on those you really need to figure out. People seem to like MGMAT's SC guide or Artistotle. CR - Powerscore seems to be the popular one but the MGMAT is a valuable resource as well. You'll see all kinds of stories on here of people in your position and how they were able to meet their goals.

Also, I would get rid of that negativity. Give yourself a goal of what you want and acknowledge that it is absolutely possible. Once you get past the obstacle of your own doubt, it should become a bit easier.
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Re: Am I Too Dumb to Score 720+ on the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2013, 05:49
To quote the Dark Knight, "The night is always darkest before dawn!". I was in the same boat you were in. I scored a 540 on my first CAT. Your goal is totally achievable!

A couple strategies that work for me:

Focus more on Verbal; I've noticed a strong verbal score bumps your overall score more than a strong quant score

Invest more time on the early questions.

Depending on your timeline, remember to take weeks off from studying to allow your brain to absorb some of the content.

Last edited by candayam on 19 Jun 2013, 20:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Am I Too Dumb to Score 720+ on the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2013, 08:17
I implore you to read this post from-420-to-700-it-is-good-to-be-part-of-the-700-club-35919.html
This is one of the most inspiring GMAT stories i have ever read. There are many instances in which people have defied logic and scored 700+ from scores like 550,600 etc. after months of pure diligence coupled with strong motivation. I suggest you go through their preparation methods and compare that to yours and try to understand where you can improve your score.

There is another GMAT story 550-to-690-to-750-my-key-points-for-gmat-success-91926.html which can help you with your predicament. I am sure if you go through it it will be worth your time. You define your own limits. Believe in yourself , be confident and i am pretty damn sure you can even achieve 750+ if you really want it that bad :)
You also have lots of prep materials still to cover so your chances of improvement are still huge. So i wont be that worried if i were you. If you have time please go through the stories in this following thread best-gmat-stories-period-98512.html. You will get plenty of materials and tips for a good score.
I sincerely hope that this post will help you.
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Re: Am I Too Dumb to Score 720+ on the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2013, 12:37
RyanCJW wrote:
I don't think anyone is incapable of getting a score they want. It just requires more work/time for some people than others.

I got a 550 my first time around, 660 my second time around and am practice scoring a 710 at this point with a little less than a month and a half of study time left - which means I'll hopefully only get better between now and then!

You just need to figure out the test. If you have quant figured out (scoring 47+), start tackling verbal. You say you're good with reading comp, and there really isn't a whole lot you can prepare for with RC as it's difficult to do anything but the OG stuff. SC and CR are master-able. They only test you on a finite number of concepts. Once you learn those concepts, move onto the practice and drill them down. Figure out what your weaknesses are from there and keep going over those concepts. It's not likely that'll you go over all of these and come out unsure of every concept, you'll probably be able to remove a few from your intense studying and concentrate on those you really need to figure out. People seem to like MGMAT's SC guide or Artistotle. CR - Powerscore seems to be the popular one but the MGMAT is a valuable resource as well. You'll see all kinds of stories on here of people in your position and how they were able to meet their goals.

Also, I would get rid of that negativity. Give yourself a goal of what you want and acknowledge that it is absolutely possible. Once you get past the obstacle of your own doubt, it should become a bit easier.


Quant definitely isn't my issue. Aside from the very beginning of my prep, I only skimmed through the guides on that and got a 47. I'm sure that if I really spent time nailing down probability and rate questions (my achilies heel), I would have done better as I spent way too much time trying to figure out those and made some stupid mistakes on the data sufficiency questions. I think I can score 50+ on quant with more effort.

What's leaving me puzzled, however, is that I spent a lot of time on the verbal but still managed a 35 or so. I think my RC only improved because I started to read a lot during undergrad (my RC on the SAT was not so hot), but SC and CR have remained tricky. I read through the Manhattan guide and understood all the types, but I feel as though 700+ level questions can be very tricky and the verbal Qs on MGMAT didn't prep me very well at all.

Also, just to clarify, my 550 was not a CAT/official test. That was when I did a practice exam from a Kaplan/PR book without any studying
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Re: Am I Too Dumb to Score 720+ on the GMAT?   [#permalink] 19 Jun 2013, 12:37
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