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Just scored a 400 on my Kaplan diagnostic...

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Just scored a 400 on my Kaplan diagnostic... [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2012, 00:42
I'm new to GMAT Club and I came across the site tonight after looking for GMAT help. After spending the past several hours reading many of the great advice articles, I decided to post my current situation to see if other members might have and feedback or opinions on the feasibility of my goals.

I don't think I'm the stereotypical MBA applicant because I'm 39 years old. My undergrad was a BS in Marketing (with a below average GPA). My goal is to get into a part-time MBA in Chicago, i.e. DePaul or Loyola. These programs have GMAT median scores of around 560.

I'm currently taking Kaplan's "GMAT Advantage-Anywhere" online class. This week I completed the first class and the first online practice test/diagnostic test, with a ego-crushing score of 400 (Q20/V23). I only had enough time to attempt (without guessing) the first 20 math questions and the first 24 verbal questions. I felt like a deer in the headlights during the diagnostic test but it was especially disappointing since I was very familiar with the exam.

In 2003, I took the GMAT twice and scored the very disappointing scores of 440 (Q24/V23) and 420 (Q32/V19). For preparation in 2003, I really did not have a good study plan, despite the fact that I took Princeton Review’s classroom prep course. I feel behind in the class and studied very sporadically over a 9 week period for about 60 hours total (not including classroom time). In 2003, I also took 5 practice tests and had about an average score 490 (Q34/V24). I remember thinking I could have done much better on the exam if I had been more disciplined and dedicated.

Now, nine years later, I’m more motivated and I have time for studying. However, I think my test taking skills may have eroded even more (I’m now 15 years removed from college). I'm wondering if I should put in 150+ hours to see if I can raise my test scores 150+ points. If not, my backup plan would be to attend an MBA program that doesn't require a GMAT or attend an Executive MBA program (assuming I could get accepted, not to mention some eMBA programs also require a GMAT.)

Any feedback or advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

P.S. My gameplan for the now is 1) finish Kaplan's Math Refresher On Demand (it's a review of Arithmetic, Geometry, and Algebra), 2) carefully review my first practice test, 3) complete all of the class homework and workshops, plus review everything covered in first two weeks, 4) take CAT #2.
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Re: Just scored a 400 on my Kaplan diagnostic... [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2012, 08:06
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KUT773 wrote:
In 2003, I also took 5 practice tests and had about an average score 490 (Q34/V24). I remember thinking I could have done much better on the exam if I had been more disciplined and dedicated.

That means you can easily score more than 550 with dedication and discipline...so u know where does the problem lies and u know the answer as well.... :)
KUT773 wrote:
P.S. My gameplan for the now is 1) finish Kaplan's Math Refresher On Demand (it's a review of Arithmetic, Geometry, and Algebra), 2) carefully review my first practice test, 3) complete all of the class homework and workshops, plus review everything covered in first two weeks, 4) take CAT #2.

seeing ur scores, i feel u should devote equal time on verbal and quant....dong well in verbal will take ur score higher than doing well in quant...and Verbal is also scorable...so u may devote equal time on both...
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Re: Just scored a 400 on my Kaplan diagnostic... [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2012, 09:57
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Start off with a practice test (any test: Kaplan, MGMAT, Veritas, etc.). Use the results to determine where you need to spend the most time. Keep an error log to make sure you're not running into any obstacles you're unaware of.

Benchmark progress with practice tests every so often. Don't take too many in a short period of time.

You don't need much more to get your score to the averages of the programs you're applying to, but remember, higher GMAT score makes you a better applicant and more likely to secure some scholarship money if any is available.
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Re: Just scored a 400 on my Kaplan diagnostic... [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2012, 12:50
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I took that Kaplan diagnostic program a couple years ago and I think I scored around a 450. I remember doing a lot of guessing on it.

Anyways, following a moderate study plan, I took the test two months later and scored a 640. A month after that, without much change in my study habits, I scored a 690. Then I took a year off, studied really really hard for 9 weeks (20-30hrs/week), and scored a 760.

So yes, a much higher score is possible with a strong study plan. However, I would definitely recommend supplementing Kaplan with some additional study material. Maybe purchase a few of the Manhattan GMAT books, or sign up with Knewton on demand. I didn't think that Kaplan covered the more difficult topics with nearly enough depth.
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400 to 540 in 3 weeks...6 weeks to go [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2012, 00:49
I wanted to post update #1 to my original post.

Tonight I took Kaplan CAT#2 after 3 weeks of very hard studying (30 hours/week) and scored a 540...an 140 point improvement!

My goal is to keep doing what I'm doing and try to continue to improve. So far I've been using soley Kaplan study resources so far, including their online class, which meets once per week for 9 total weeks.
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Re: Just scored a 400 on my Kaplan diagnostic... [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2012, 06:35
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I have found the MGMAT Guides to be a very useful refresher in GMAT Math. I have yet to start on the verbal guides, but heard they are fantastic.

You might look into purchasing these guides to get to your target score.
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Re: Just scored a 400 on my Kaplan diagnostic... [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2012, 09:24
Great job on the score increase! Don't know what your score breakdown was, but as others have stated, a boost in verbal score can dramatically increase your total score, so be sure to devote time to both sections.
Re: Just scored a 400 on my Kaplan diagnostic...   [#permalink] 18 Feb 2012, 09:24
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