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GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps

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Current Student
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Joined: 05 Nov 2012
Posts: 108
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 680 Q43 V40
GMAT 2: 720 Q48 V41
GPA: 3.52
WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
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Kudos [?]: 33 [0], given: 20

GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2012, 13:09
Hey everyone,

Just wanted to ask for some advice. Took the GMAT today. Got myself a 680 (Q43 = 61%ile / V40 = 90%ile). Very disappointed with my quant score as it was MUCH lower than I expected -- surprisingly enough, my V score was much higher then I expected. Used the OG books + MGMAT books to prep. Focused almost all of my time on the quant side of things...seems like that did not yield much. I will admit though, that I found the MGMAT CATs much harder than the GMAT Prep tests/GMAT Focus online diag...my scores were as follows:
MGMAT tests - ranged from 600 to 670. Quant was always lower than Verbal.
GMAT Prep 1 - 700 (evenly split between Q and V)
GMAT Prep 2 - 720 (Q was above 80th %ile, V was a bit higher)
GMAT Prep 1 (take 2) - 710 (evenly split between Q and V)
GMAT Focus - did all 3 online diags; was "expected" to get a Q in the range of 47-51 (lol right....)

I was initially worried about my quant because of MGMAT...but after I read online that others found their quant to be difficult as well, I didnt pay much attention to it as I was scoring higher on the GMAT tests.

Given my goal of a top10 Bschool, I think a 680 is my profile's biggest weakness (esp. with low Q). Although my undergrad was finance focused (3.5+ GPA) and I work in investment banking (which is considered somewhat quant-oriented) at a well-known firm, I am not sure if that makes up for a low Q. In conclusion, I am thinking of retaking the GMAT in early December so I still have time to apply before R2 deadlines by early Jan.

I have about 30 days to focus almost entirely on my quant (as I am fairly comfortable with the verbal), but don't know where/how to start. Any suggestions? Do I go through MGMAT again? I've heard the GMAT Club Tests are great, would these be the most beneficial given my tight timeline? Do I just stick with the 680 and hope for the best? Also, the more I think about it, the more I am inclinded to say my best ROI over the next 2 months would be to focus on essays/letter of recs instead of GMAT.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2012, 16:50
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680 is a great score but Q43 is a bit tough.
Looks like you found this post: how-to-improve-your-quant-from-44-to-141670.html

I would focus on that one (it says from 44-46 to 50 but 43 is probably included in there).
I think you have to chase a few tails (which means chase your errors and figure out why you made each one of them). Not a fun job but that will get you a pretty good picture and a good roadmap/plan for what to do.

You can grab the MGMAT roadmpap book if you have not yet. It is cheap.

Focusing solely on Quant is OK but I would recommend 90% on Quant and still spend 10 or maybe even 20% on Verbal. You may lose what you have gained. Many have by waiting and getting rusty.

Don't focus on the hardest problems but instead on the medium level questions - that's where you get slammed the most right now with your Q score.

IF nothing else, practice with a timer and go through series of questions at a time.

GMAT Club tests.... are probably going to be hard and frustrating for you at this time.
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Current Student
avatar
Joined: 05 Nov 2012
Posts: 108
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 680 Q43 V40
GMAT 2: 720 Q48 V41
GPA: 3.52
WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 33 [0], given: 20

Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2012, 18:26
Thanks for taking the time to reply, bb -- much appreciated.

Not sure how to even start "chasing tails"...the entire GMAT experience was a complete blur, can barely remember 2-3 quant questions so won't be able to pinpoint my weak areas. Im thinking of just re-doing the practice questions at the end of each MGMAT chapter (not the OG problem sets, but the actual MGMAT questions). From there, I could just focus on reviewing those sections where I got the most wrong. However, this seems like it would take a large time commitment...maybe too large vs the 5 weeks I have to study. Any suggestions on doing a quick diagnostic?

Also, bb, you mentioned doing medium level questions. I completely agree, but any suggestions on good sources for such questions? Ive unfortunately exhausted all the OG materials at this point.

Thanks again.
Current Student
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Joined: 05 Nov 2012
Posts: 108
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 680 Q43 V40
GMAT 2: 720 Q48 V41
GPA: 3.52
WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 33 [0], given: 20

Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2012, 18:28
Oh, and Im def going to start using a timer for EVERY problem.
Current Student
avatar
Joined: 05 Nov 2012
Posts: 108
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 680 Q43 V40
GMAT 2: 720 Q48 V41
GPA: 3.52
WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 33 [0], given: 20

Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2012, 19:05
Just found the GMAT Club Diag Test (gmatclub . com / forum/ gmat-diagnostic-test-quest-for-best-gmat-diagnostic-test-79502 . html -- had to add spaces). Seems like a great resource. Will do all 45 questions -- hopefully will be able to help me pinpoint weak areas. Still open to other resources/suggestions.

Thanks.
Current Student
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Joined: 05 Nov 2012
Posts: 108
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 680 Q43 V40
GMAT 2: 720 Q48 V41
GPA: 3.52
WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 33 [0], given: 20

Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2012, 08:03
First, can a mod move this thread to the "Share GMAT Experience" forum? I'd like to make updates to my status periodically which will hopefully help others in the same boat as me. It seems like this isn't the most appropriate forum.

Second, I signed up for my second take. Its in the books for mid-December. Gives me about 30-40 days to improve my quant, which I fully believe I can do.

In terms of where I stand, I am going to do the GMAT Club Diag Test tonight (all 45 questions) under strict time conditions. Will make note of any questions I either 1) have trouble with, or 2) get wrong. This will hopefully point out any weaknesses I have. From there, will do a review of theory using the MGMAT books + the GMAT Club Math Book. Will give periodic updates on how this goes.

Still looking for suggestions on good sources for medium-level questions.

Thanks.
Current Student
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Joined: 05 Nov 2012
Posts: 108
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 680 Q43 V40
GMAT 2: 720 Q48 V41
GPA: 3.52
WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 33 [0], given: 20

Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2012, 10:33
Another update. Found out about Jeff Sackmann's Math Sets. Seems like its exactly what I needed to complenent the theory that I've learned from MGMAT guides. GMAT-style questions (which MGMAT does not provide, IMO) with a range of difficulties. Really psyched about this. Once I get my plan together, I'll post it up for others to see.
Current Student
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Joined: 05 Nov 2012
Posts: 108
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 680 Q43 V40
GMAT 2: 720 Q48 V41
GPA: 3.52
WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 33 [0], given: 20

Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 10 Nov 2012, 08:52
Quick update.
Going through Sackmann's GMAT problem sets. I realized that the Fundamentals were way too easy so I just skipped over to the Challenge sets. The Challenge sets have mid (550ish) to high (720+) level questions, which is exactly what I was looking for. After having gone through all of the OG problems while I was studying with the MGMAT guides, I finally have a set of fresh questions to do, which is great because its now becoming very apparent where my weak areas are. Have about 4 weeks left. I think I'll be able to finish all of the Challenge sets in the next 2-3 weeks, and use 1 week to review verbal/do some CATs.

Also, if anyone is interested, I found this amazing stopwatch that was posted on GC. Best one I've seen yet (although I haven't seen many). You can find it here: gmatclub (.) com/forum/stopwatch-and-countdowntimer-91400 (.) html
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Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 10 Nov 2012, 21:36
680 is an excellent score. Q43 can be improved by a few points without much of an issue. Have you considered a tutor? Or a prep course?
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Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 11 Nov 2012, 07:15
Hi there.

As others have said, 680 is a great score. However, I think you can improve it given what you wrote and the nature of the Q/V split. Check out the free 'OG Archer' on MGMAT. I found it very useful. Basically, each day I answered some 30 questions (usually from the upper third in terms of question numbers). You can then get the tool to plot your profile stats (you can obtain this plot for that particular day or any number of consequative days). You'll then know which particular area(s) is/are your weakest both in terms of accuracy and time - very useful. I would then focus on those areas.

My approach was to choose OG questions e.g. 101, 111, 121, 131, .. etc. Then go for 102, 112, 122, 132 etc. and so on to get a range of questions in terms of difficulty. You could also choose mid-range questions e.g. from 100 for DS and 150 for PS and do some 30 consequative questions. Do this on the MGMAT OG Archer under strict times as if you were on the real GMAT and this will give you a reasonably accurate idea of your strengths and weaknesses.

Best wishes.
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GMAT 1: 680 Q43 V40
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Kudos [?]: 33 [0], given: 20

Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 11 Nov 2012, 14:33
Thanks for the replies. Appreciate the tip, kkma2000. I used the OG Archer when I was prepping for my first take. It seems like I did everything down to a T, yet still wound up with a low Q. After much thought, I've come to the conclusion that it was just a "bad test day". Hopefully going through Sackmann's question sets will give me a bit of a confidence boost.

I've also hired a consultant, and from the sounds of it, I should be able to produce some pretty strong essays. After sitting on the 680 for about a week now, I think I'd be able to crack at least 1-2 of the top10 schools, so I'm not as worried anymore. Thats not to say I won't re-write, as I def will...just that I don't feel as bad anymore :).

Thanks again everyone. Will keep you updated.
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Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 11 Nov 2012, 20:02
Improvement in quant generally doesn't take as much time as that in verbal. I think if you can keep the verbal at the same level, you can easily add another 40-50 points to your overall score in a month's time.
You may like to check out these two links:-
a-way-to-increase-from-q35-40-to-q-138750.html
the-final-climb-quest-for-q-50-from-q47-129441.html#p1064367
Good luck!
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Fire the final bullet only when you are constantly hitting the Bull's eye, till then KEEP PRACTICING.

A WAY TO INCREASE FROM QUANT 35-40 TO 47 : a-way-to-increase-from-q35-40-to-q-138750.html

Q 47/48 To Q 50 + the-final-climb-quest-for-q-50-from-q47-129441.html#p1064367

Three good RC strategies three-different-strategies-for-attacking-rc-127287.html

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Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 11 Nov 2012, 22:15
This topic got me thinking of "what is generally considered a acceptable QUANT score for TOP 10-20 MBA Programs". Going over this website and other sites which publish debriefs I see a large spread of Q scores for test takers that get 700+. People from Engineering backgrounds, or Financial backgrounds usually get 48+ on their way to 700+ but where do the adcoms draw the line for people like me who come from a non quant background? What do they consider as an acceptable quant demonstration (in the GMAT) ? Ofcourse a Non quant background may be a red flag while applying but one can always take college level math courses in stats or calculus if one is weak (to boost his/her application)...
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Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 10:07
Thanks rajeevrks27. The links are super helpful.
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Joined: 05 Nov 2012
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GMAT 1: 680 Q43 V40
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WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
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Kudos [?]: 33 [1] , given: 20

Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2012, 12:10
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My month of extra studying is up. Got my exam this Saturday (6 days left). Took my GMATPrep Test#2 (already did it about 5 weeks ago but I could not recall any questions/answers). Scored a 750 (Q-85% ; V-97%). Now if I can only pull this off on test day...I noticed I got test-day anxiety last time. Its a real possibility it happens again this time around -- so that's my biggest worry.

I'll be doing a few more questions over the next week before my exam but I think my studying is pretty much done. Not that I don't care anymore, but I also worked on my actual applications over the last month and have been able to produce an amazing story/set of essays. This, along with my initial 680, should be enough to crack at least 1-2 of the schools I am aiming for.

Regardless, as a quick debrief of what I did over the last month: I studied almost purely Quant. The only time I looked at Verbal was when I actually did my 2 CATs. I'll probably do a quick refresh of the some of the primary SC rules (fewer vs less; between vs among; etc...) but I think my Verbal should be good enough at this point. For Quant, I ONLY used Sackmann's material. I got both the Total GMAT Math book and the 1,800 questions set. I went through the TGM book cover to cover, and did all of the "Challenge" level questions (roughly 1,000 in total I think).

As someone who has already done MGMAT, Sackmann's TGM has been PHENOMENAL! It really solidified what I already learnt in the MGMAT books. The amazing thing is, he teaches you each subtopic in approximately 2-3 pages of text (max of 4), followed by about 10 drill questions and then 5-10 GMAT style questions. I was cranking through subtopics in literally less than 15-20 minutes, and could usually get through a full topic (Number Properties; Word Trans; Geometry) in under 3 hours. That just speaks to Sackmann's ability to concisely present each topic. I wish I had picked up his stuff before my initial GMAT test...would have made a huge difference.

Anyways, wish me luck. Will post again next week and let you know if studying actually paid off or if anxiety got the best of me.
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Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2012, 19:03
Good luck..Go out and hit it out of the park...
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Current Student
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GMAT 1: 680 Q43 V40
GMAT 2: 720 Q48 V41
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Kudos [?]: 33 [1] , given: 20

Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2012, 11:25
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Wrote my second GMAT today. Here it is:

720 - 94th %ile
Q48 - 78th %ile
V41 - 93%ile

That is it, I am done with the GMAT! Very happy with my overall score. Quant was still lower than my target 80th %ile, but I am not complaining as I came very close. Plus my verbal improved from last time (I put in only 1 hour of verbal study since then). I have Total GMAT Math to thank for this improvement. I literally did not use a SINGLE other resource over the last month (no MGMAT, not even GMATPrep). Sackmann is a genius; I highly recommend his stuff.

I've already thrown in my INSEAD app for R2, but I'll email my score to the school now as supplemental information. Columbia (almost done) and Wharton (still to do) are next.

Thank you for the support everyone. It was a great (and difficult) journey.

Good luck to everyone else!
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Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2012, 23:17
Congratulations! It sounds like you're golden. Let us know when you get into your dream school!
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Re: GMAT hosed me today (680)...need some advice on next steps   [#permalink] 16 Dec 2012, 23:17
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