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Help! Need to improve 580 score.

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Help! Need to improve 580 score. [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2012, 11:08
Hi all,

I need some real guidance and advice for the GMAT. I am not able to hit above 580 (Q35, V31) on the GMATPrep. I have been studying quite diligently for the past 3 months and am using OG12, Verbal Official guide, Kaplan 2012 study guide and recently registered Kaplan online course to help improve my scores by using time-saving strategies. So I'm not short on tools, I need to improve the method/strategy I have been using.

Problem is that I keep practicing and practicing on my weakness areas (DS, Number properties etc.) without seeing any positive results. I know I am clearly doing something wrong. I'm not stupid, just need a good sound plan to follow. My currently approach is to answer a question in OG12, then check the answer/explanation right away. On the diagnostic CAT with Kaplan, i scored 550, then I did a second one after a few days and scored a 580.

Any help/motivation would be much appreciated.
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Re: Help! Need to improve 580 score. [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2012, 12:00
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Strategies are fundamental. But the fundamentals are even more important. Many of the books you’ve listed offer helpful “big-picture” strategies. However, if you are not explicitly learning the fundamentals of number properties, you will have difficulty improving your score.

The two best sources of fundamentals are Manhattan GMAT and Magoosh GMAT. The first is book-based, the latter video. Both provide copious practice questions to insure that you learn the fundamentals. By going through either you will get the feeling that you are growing, not just going through a seemingly endless series of practice questions.

In terms of general strategy, you may want to employ when going through the OG Guide is to delay looking at the explanation. Once you’ve determined that you’ve missed a question, try to figure out what the answer could be. If you are still stumped, return to the answer key and try to figure out why the given answer is correct.

By constantly relying on the explanation, on the other hand, you are not really forcing yourself to think through with the question. But don’t worry – many of my students who were stagnating were doing the same thing. By following my advice things changed greatly.

I am confident that if you work in the above fashion you should soon crack 650. And with a little more, perhaps even 700.

Good luck!
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Re: Help! Need to improve 580 score. [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2012, 12:53
Hi Chris,

Thanks for the advice. The way I've improved in CR is by focusing on identifying the type of question first. It just clicks after that. And now my timing has improved and I'm easily able to narrow it down to 50/50 in 45s or less, I can plow through OG12 quite well. Similarly for SC as well.

I am in fact looking to get my core fundamentals down 100% to get to the point of it just "clicking" and then focusing on the harder material. I am able to eliminate most of the wrong answers in PS(thru backsolving/picking numbers), but my core weakness lies in DS - even after testing sufficient permissible answers, I am stumped. Can magoosh GMAT help with that?
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Re: Help! Need to improve 580 score. [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2012, 14:21
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We have hundreds of lessons videos. Each helps you covers a fundamental skill. For instance, in quant there is are specific videos covering everything from simplifying algebraic expressions to combinations/permutations. For Verbal we have a dozen videos that focus on Critical Reasoning.

Here is a little taste:

http://gmat.magoosh.com/lessons/581-general-cr-strategy

Let me know if there is anything else you want to know about the product. One thing I should add is we always respond to any customers question in less than 24hours. And the question doesn't even have to relate to the questions in the product but can be regarding anything GMAT-related.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Help! Need to improve 580 score. [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2012, 03:08
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bahlsonal wrote:
Hi all,

I need some real guidance and advice for the GMAT. I am not able to hit above 580 (Q35, V31) on the GMATPrep. I have been studying quite diligently for the past 3 months and am using OG12, Verbal Official guide, Kaplan 2012 study guide and recently registered Kaplan online course to help improve my scores by using time-saving strategies. So I'm not short on tools, I need to improve the method/strategy I have been using.

Problem is that I keep practicing and practicing on my weakness areas (DS, Number properties etc.) without seeing any positive results. I know I am clearly doing something wrong. I'm not stupid, just need a good sound plan to follow. My currently approach is to answer a question in OG12, then check the answer/explanation right away. On the diagnostic CAT with Kaplan, i scored 550, then I did a second one after a few days and scored a 580.

Any help/motivation would be much appreciated.


I agree with Chris here. I have some doubts about your approach especially when you say

"to help improve my scores by using time-saving strategies."

First up, your understanding of fundamentals has to be very strong, then your application needs to be good and then you should worry about 'time saving techniques'. I don't suggest my students to worry about those till a lot later. Mind you, GMAT is not a 'learn and repeat' test. It tests your comprehension of the subject matter by presenting you with twisted questions based on things you are expected to know.

With a Q35, your basics are probably in place. Your application, I am not so sure about. If I tell you that n has only 2 factors, I am sure you will say that n must be prime. But if I tell you that n^2 has only 3 factors, will you still be able to say that n must be prime? Number properties is a tricky topic (even though when you go through the basics, it seems fairly simple). Forget time saving for a while. Use as much time as you need to solve a question. Review the concept tested and write it down in a logbook if you need to. Focus on the takeaways in each question.

At V31, I would think that you are certainly having problems in at least one of the sub sections. Even CR, SC and RC have concepts and you need to be clear about them. You should know exactly what each question type demands.

Also, another thing you said:
"but my core weakness lies in DS - even after testing sufficient permissible answers,"

'Testing permissible numbers' is not the way to go in DS. It is a very crude method (nevertheless, essential sometimes, but not often). Try and work with reason and logic. You don't solve every PS question by plugging in numbers, do you? Then why do you do that in DS? Take data from stmnt 1 and see if you will be able to solve it the way you solve a PS question. (Using reason). Then take data from stmnt 2 only and repeat. If needed, take data from both together. DS questions are certainly more time consuming.
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Re: Help! Need to improve 580 score.   [#permalink] 18 Jan 2012, 03:08
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