Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? : General GMAT Questions and Strategies
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# Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do?

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Manager
Joined: 25 Jun 2011
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Concentration: Strategy, International Business
GMAT 1: 760 Q44 V51
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Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2011, 06:58
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So I took the GMAT yesterday, and scored better than I ever had on any practice tests (44Q and 51V, so a 760). Mostly I'm thrilled, but I'm a little nervous about that Quant score for the programs I'm targeting (top 20, a couple top 10s). I've heard about the apocryphal 80/80 percentile cut-off for top programs, so will a 66th %ile Quant kill me if I'm 99th %ile Verbal?

By way of background, I'm from a Humanities undergrad (graduated 6 years ago). Since then I've demonstrated a bit of Quant chops, I got an A in a graduate-credit level stats class I took via Continuing Education at a very fancy local university last year, and was asked back to serve as a grader the semester after. So I have something to show on the quant front, but it's still pretty thin. Not sure if it can offset that Quant score in the eyes of a top 10 adcom.

Any advice? Not sure I have it in me to retake the GMAT....

Thx
Manager
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Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2011, 09:30
Joel: First of all, congrats on the excellent score! 51V is incredible. I agree with your assessment that the split is a bit less than ideal though. What were you scoring for Quant in your practice tests? If the 44 was abnormally low, then you might consider retaking. However, given what you've said, it seems like you might not be able to match that 760 for certain and programs will usually only look at your top score.

Basically, if your'e confident you can get a 770+ with a better split I'd go for it, otherwise I'd stick with what you have and see if you can demonstrate Quant aptitude in some other way (WE?).
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Manager
Joined: 25 Jun 2011
Posts: 111
Concentration: Strategy, International Business
GMAT 1: 760 Q44 V51
GPA: 3.6
WE: Other (Other)
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 22 [0], given: 3

Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2011, 09:57
Thanks for the reply gmatkoopa.

The Math 44 frankly wasn't that abnormally low for me. I had a couple practice tests up in the 88th and 77th percentiles, but I also had some where I bombed out and ended up below the 50th. Needless to say, math is not my strength. The verbal, though, has never been a problem. I've consistently been scoring in the 99th percentile on all CATs since the diagnostic, so I have no doubt that I could boost my current overall score by retaking if I were to do more math studying.

I just wonder if I'm crazy to even consider retaking the test, and investing yet more time into the GMAT, rather than spending that time on the rest of my app. Opportunity costs, trade-offs etc etc.

As for WE, nothing there will really assuage any concerns about my math aptitude, other than having TAed that intro stats class last year.

If I'm not aiming for really quant-jock programs like Wharton or Sloan, do you think the 44 Math is less of an issue?

Thanks again.
Manager
Joined: 04 Jun 2011
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Kudos [?]: 67 [0], given: 40

Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2011, 10:16
Joel: I'm not an expert (and I don't think many people on this forum are). Your best bet might be to post this question in the business school forums and ask some admissions consultants.

Not all 99ths for Verbal are created equal though. A 44 or a 45 may also be 99th percentile--your score is well above that (I think it's likely that you got every question correct on the exam seeing as I've gotten 45s on MGMAT tests with 2 mistakes).
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Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2011, 10:53
Wow - that's amazing Verbal Score.
If your background is OK with quant (you don't have low grades on Math classes and it is clear that you can handle the work load/etc), this may be a differentiation for you rather than a weakness.

See profile of MichMax3
members/member-76523.html
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Manager
Joined: 25 Jun 2011
Posts: 111
Concentration: Strategy, International Business
GMAT 1: 760 Q44 V51
GPA: 3.6
WE: Other (Other)
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 22 [0], given: 3

Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2011, 11:00
Thanks for the reply bb.

I'm coming from a very non-traditional background: a Humanities major at a Seven Sisters liberal arts college, finishing up a Masters in PoliSci right now and work experience in journalism and academia. I'm hoping that I can be looked at essentially as a "novelty" candidate, with the adcoms figuring "well, this guy's clearly a smart poet-type with little quant background, but his numbers are such that it won't ding our stats to accept him, so let's roll the dice." As I mentioned I've excelled in a graduate level stats class, so I'm hoping that solitary quant line-item on my transcript will be enough.
Senior Manager
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Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2011, 03:51
First of all, many many congratulations!!! My goodness, that's a ridiculous verbal score I have ever seen in this forum or in general. I wish I could have a fraction of that verbal brain. You are like GOD to me :p Only in my wildest dream I could imagine me getting any close to that. Sorry, this is not a reply to your question specifically.

I am curious if there is such a cut-off for Verbal in top 10 (HBS, Wharton, MIT, Booth and Kellogg)? I mean I really can't imagine myself getting 42+. I am targeting 42 in verbal (say I get 40) - with the hope that 51 should be piece of cake in real GMAT. Should v38-42 be enough for ANY school?
Manager
Joined: 25 Jun 2011
Posts: 111
Concentration: Strategy, International Business
GMAT 1: 760 Q44 V51
GPA: 3.6
WE: Other (Other)
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 22 [0], given: 3

Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2011, 06:01
Thanks for your kind words abhicoolmax. I'm just hoping that the unspoken bias adcoms have toward the Quant side of the score won't result in my application going into a pile marked "should be getting and English PhD instead of an MBA"
Senior Manager
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Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2011, 06:56
JoelCairo wrote:
Thanks for your kind words abhicoolmax. I'm just hoping that the unspoken bias adcoms have toward the Quant side of the score won't result in my application going into a pile marked "should be getting and English PhD instead of an MBA"

Great Score!

How did you manage a V51 ? (read as: can we have a verbal debrief ?)
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Senior Manager
Joined: 20 Jun 2010
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Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2014
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Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2011, 07:21
51V --wow, that is spectacular!

I have heard that the 3 schools that scrutinize over the quant breakdown the most are Haas, Wharton, and MIT.

But, if you didn't break into at least the 70th pct on the quant section and don't have a strong quant background, you might raise a red flag at any top program.

We don't know the rest of your profile (although it looks like you have a stellar GPA), but If I were you I would not retake the test and instead put a simple sentence in the optional essay to something of the effect:

'Given my humanities background, I would be happy to take whatever quant courses necessary prior to my enrollment in SCHOOL_X in order to prove my quantitative ability to the admissions committee.'

I have heard this work for someone in the past at Haas. They were admitted but they DID have to take a calculus course prior to enrollment.
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Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2011, 08:41
akhileshgupta05 wrote:
Great Score!

How did you manage a V51 ? (read as: can we have a verbal debrief ?)

You are not serious, are you? He is GOD in Verbal! I highly doubt he prepared for Verbal at all. I think he just knows it. Like some of us, for whom Quant comes naturally, can't give any tips on improving Quant to anybody. I doubt a verbal debrief from him could help us here, it would make us feel miserable :D

MDF wrote:
'Given my humanities background, I would be happy to take whatever quant courses necessary prior to my enrollment in SCHOOL_X in order to prove my quantitative ability to the admissions committee.'

I have heard this work for someone in the past at Haas. They were admitted but they DID have to take a calculus course prior to enrollment.

Does it also work for Verbal section? :p No, I am serious!
Manager
Joined: 25 Jun 2011
Posts: 111
Concentration: Strategy, International Business
GMAT 1: 760 Q44 V51
GPA: 3.6
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Kudos [?]: 22 [0], given: 3

Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2011, 08:56
MDF wrote:
'Given my humanities background, I would be happy to take whatever quant courses necessary prior to my enrollment in SCHOOL_X in order to prove my quantitative ability to the admissions committee.'

I have heard this work for someone in the past at Haas. They were admitted but they DID have to take a calculus course prior to enrollment.

Thanks for the tip MDF, that sounds like what I should do. Maybe I'll preemptively enroll in something quanty through Continuing Education, so I can be ahead of that "welcome to the waitlist" letter.

And as for the Verbal Debrief, akhileshgupta05, I'm afraid that I can't really be much help. I wish I could, but the reality is that I didn't study verbal at all. From the very first Diagnostic I knew I could handle the Verbal section, so I tried to spend my time where it was needed: in the Math. The only time I did any practice on verbal at all was during CATs, and after those I didn't spend any time going over the questions afterwards, since I had to do intensive autopsies on my Quantitative bloodbaths.

My background (WE as a journalist and a librarian at an ivy league university) simply includes a ton of reading and writing. I was that kid who read Shakespeare for fun in middle school. It's kind of like what abhicoolmax said (though the "God" part might be overstating it): some things come naturally to some people. I speak five languages but can hardly count my own fingers and toes. When I read a Verbal question I immediately see right through it, whereas when I'm confronted with a difficult Quant problem I can't seem to find any way in.

Last edited by JoelCairo on 10 Jul 2011, 10:43, edited 1 time in total.
Senior Manager
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Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2011, 09:00
akhileshgupta05 wrote:
Does it also work for Verbal section? :p No, I am serious!

I don't think it would be nearly as effective with verbal. It's much easier for the adcom to slap you with a calculus course, which has subject matter that is universal across the world, than it would be for them to recommend you take some sort of English course that might vary drastically depending on the course topic and where you take it.
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Manager
Joined: 25 Jun 2011
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Concentration: Strategy, International Business
GMAT 1: 760 Q44 V51
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Kudos [?]: 22 [0], given: 3

Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do? [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2011, 10:46
Question: If I were to go ahead and sign up for a quant class this fall, is Calculus exactly what I should do, or is it just a matter of finding something number-intensive? (Finance, Managerial Accounting and Econ classes look a lot more interesting to me than pure math)
Re: Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do?   [#permalink] 10 Jul 2011, 10:46
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# Excellent Score, but ridiculously lop-sided. What to do?

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