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GMAT Retake Strategy - Need Advice

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Status: Applying for fall 2013 admission
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GMAT Retake Strategy - Need Advice [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2011, 14:45
I've been an observer of this forum for some time now, but this is my first post. I've always found it very helpful to read others' GMAT stories, so I figured I'd post mine and solicit some advice since I've had some frustrations and haven't reached my goal of 700+ yet. I started prepping back in January with the Kaplan Premier book and the OGs. My first ever GMAT Prep was a 600 in early January. I set a date, studied for 2-3 hours a night on weeknights and about 6-7 hours total on weekends for two months and took the exam in early March. Two weeks before the exam, I re-took the first GMAT Prep exam and got a 690 (42Q, 42V). I prepared a bit more in the two weeks leading up to the exam and took the second GMAT Prep (which I had never taken before) two days before test day and got a 730 (46Q, 44V under simulated conditions with AWA beforehand). I was confident that I was where I needed to be and I relaxed for the next couple of days then took the exam. I got a very disappointing 660 (47Q, 34V, 6.0 AWA), so it was back to the drawing board.

I took a couple of weeks off and re-scheduled the exam for April 22nd (today), confident that the first score was a fluke. I had heard really good things about the Manhattan guides, so I bought the sentence correction and critical reasoning books with hopes of improving my verbal score. The guides were useful, particularly the sentence correction, but I really found the Manhattan CATs to be the most useful. I went through the answers in detail after each test and found that the strategies/explanations were really good. I took one test every Wednesday and Saturday the three weeks leading up to the test. Anyway, to frame my situation a bit more, the results of my Manhattan CATs are as follows:

MGMAT CAT 1: 630 (36Q, 40V) - don't put a lot of weight into this one b/c there were a lot of distractions during the quant section
MGMAT CAT 2: 700 (46Q, 39V)
MGMAT CAT 3: 690 (45Q, 39V)
MGMAT CAT 4: 680 (42Q, 40V)
MGMAT CAT 5: 700 (44Q, 41V)
MGMAT CAT 6: 730 (45Q, 44V)

Took the test this afternoon and got another disappointing 660 (42Q, 40V). Anyway, I can't figure out what the issue is. I think I'm going to look into a class, but am wondering what you guys would recommend. A friend said the Knewton class is effective and they offer the 50 point guarantee. I'd ideally like to have the GMAT out of the way by the summer so I can apply in the fall, but I need a 700+ score in order to do that. Is the real GMAT just right in this case? Is a 660 my real score? Pretty discouraged at the moment so I'm trying to take everything into consideration. Appreciate any advice you guys can offer.
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Re: GMAT Retake Strategy - Need Advice [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2011, 10:37
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Hi wms,

The GMAT standard of measurement is 29 points. This means that a test-taker who takes the test multiple times without re-prepping can expect his all of his scores to be within 29 points of each other.

Of course, this isn't perfect. Clearly, you've been doing better in the past. When something specific, like lack of sleep, stress, or distraction keeps you from your full performance, another test straightaway could be the way to go. But for most students, just hoping the GMAT was 'wrong' and it will judge your score to be better the second time around is not a good gamble.

The best way to test this out is with the official GMATprep exams. Kaplan, MGMAT, and all the other test-prep companies all strive to make our CATs as accurate as we can make them. However, nothing beats the real thing--the official tests are the best method short of the test itself of evaluating what your performance will be on test day. I'd head over to www.mba.com and take the two tests there, and use that information as the basis for your next study plan.

Best of luck!
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Re: GMAT Retake Strategy - Need Advice   [#permalink] 23 Apr 2011, 10:37
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