Dear GMATClub fellows,
First some background, I've been working for two months trying to improve my GMAT quantitative score, and unfortunately, after two GMAT practice tests I could not raise it over 37. I am aiming for a score in the mid to high 40s.
I am using the MGMAT collection of books (Strategy guides + Foundation books) as well as the OG collection (main OG13 book and Quant supplement). I am dedicating 100% of my time to Quant for now and I've scheduled a GMAT exam in two months. I've been through the Foundation book and 3 out of 5 strategy guides to work on the weaknesses I've identified. I've also started using the OG guide and completed about 100 PS questions (good success rate but I believe the first ones are the easiest)
I ran some reports on both GMAT exams to understand where my weaknesses were:
PS % Right: 59% but average difficulty level of 550
DS % Right: 33% -> basically did not understand the approach for DS questions and average difficulty level of 470
Weaknesses: Number Properties (20% right)
Strengths: FDPs (71% right)
PS % Right: 50% and average difficulty level of 550
DS % Right: 53% and average difficulty level of 550
Weaknesses: FDPs (29% right)
Strengths: NP (67% right) and Geometry (67% right)
Very low % for 600-700 questions on both PS and DS (<20%)
I believe I should change my approach as I feel that my "fundamentals" are now strong but I just freeze when the question becomes more difficult (600-700 level for me). I believe at that level it's not anymore about knowing the rules, there is much more into it and I just cannot figure out the right approach.
Any advice from a GMAT Quant high achiever or from someone who went through the same issues would be really appreciated. This forum has done a lot for me when I was preparing for the TOEFL two months ago and I hope I can still rely on your support guys!
If you are currently at 550 level, I would assume that you know the formulas you have to use in specific situations but do you really understand the logic behind them? At higher levels, the concepts remain the same but the application becomes advanced. To be able to manage those questions, you must understand the logic well. You might want to review the concepts again (there will be things that will make more sense now after one full review and some practice questions). Also, it is very important to ask 'why' at every step. Keep digging into it till all your 'why's are answered. Keep practicing questions because that will give you confidence and will make solving questions more intuitive. Also, take a GMAT prep test from mba.com. That will give an accurate picture of where you are right now.
Also, I think you should keep working on Verbal too. If you ignore it for a few days, you will end up troubled once you go back to it. Rather than splitting your time evenly, you can focus more on Quant but you must keep working on Verbal too.
Thank you for your post. I am reviewing all the quant fundamentals and I have to acknowledge that my fundamentals are still a bit "shaky" as I right to you but, and you rightly mentioned it, for higher level questions, the application of the concepts becomes more advanced.
Coming back to quant, when I face a difficult question I (i) struggle to find the right strategy quickly and apply it so I just make an "uneducated" guess after 1.30mn or 2mn (ii) start with a strategy but I just cannot complete it as I struggle to apply it properly
I guess recognizing the so-called GMAT patterns requires practice and patience (and I am happy to dedicate as much of my time as necessary) but I am wondering whether high scorers have a structured way to approach questions and how I can benefit from it?
Thanks for your feedback
PS: As for the verbal section, I haven't even started preparing for it, actually I haven't even open a Verbal book. My score on both practice exams were somewhat satisfactory given my target score (average of 37 with a target of 40) and I have identified timing
as my major issue on that section (finished the Verbal section in 60-65mn on both tests) bu should I start preparing for it as well?