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Need help - 3rd failed GMAT attempt.

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Need help - 3rd failed GMAT attempt. [#permalink] New post 20 Sep 2012, 09:49
I have taken GMAT 3 times in a span of 1 year and 9 months and for some reason have not been able to get the same score to what I usually get on the mock exams. I am at a stage where I feel clueless and very de-motivated. I belong to a competitive pool (Indian male) so I realize that breaking the 700 barrier is almost a necessity for me to make it to the top B-schools. I am asking for guidance from some experts that could help me identify my problem.

GMAT 1st attempt, Jan 2011: 620 (Q48, V28) – I studied using Manhattan books and gave Manhattan mock tests. My scores in the mock tests were in the range 660-720. I don’t remember much about this attempt because its been a while but at the end of the exam I was shocked to see my score in the early 600s. I am usually good under pressure so I wasn’t feeling nervous. Also, I did not have any timing issue.

GMAT 2nd attempt, Nov 2011: 660 (Q50, V30) – I took a few months off after the first attempt as I got occupied at my workplace. Around August, I started preparing for GMAT again. This time I used Knewton just so that I get my eyes on some fresh material. This time in the Knewton mocks as well as on the GMAT preps, I was getting 700-720. Again on the exam day, I screwed up and landed up with an average score.

GMAT 3rd attempt, Sept 2012: 650 (Q49, V31) – I was up for promotion so got busy after the second attempt. After the fiscal year ended, I picked up the GMAT books again in July and this time I decided to study only verbal. Also, after my first 2 attempts, I realized that the verbal questions that come on the real GMAT (especially SCs) are quite different from the ones in Manhattan, Knewton etc. So, I focused studying only from OG 12th edition and took the new GMAT prep mocks. I also ordered the $25 GMAT prep package that has around additional 300 odd questions. My performance on those mocks improved and for the first time I actually sensed my verbal improving overall (even in day to day life). I scored in the range 720-750 with verbal score of 40+ in all the tests (I took the tests 4 times and in my 4th attempt, I did encounter some repeats).
I am unable to realize where I am going wrong. I have read blogs of people who have had similar problems but it hasn’t been of much help. This is because I think I took all those precautions prior to my 3rd attempt. I know my English is not that horrible to get a score of 31 when I am getting in late 30s or early 40s in the mocks. In addition my essay score in all 3 attempts has been 5.5/6.

Please guide me as it is my dream to get an MBA from a top 10B-school and I know I have no choice but to retake the GMAT for the 4th time. Taking the GMAT for 4th time is another fear I have as I feel now my application won’t be viewed in same light as someone who got 700+ in first attempt (provided I get 700+ in my 4th attempt).
Any inputs would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Need help - 3rd failed GMAT attempt. [#permalink] New post 20 Sep 2012, 10:24
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I think the jump from your first score was impressive, and your third attempt is almost the same.
The strategy that you used in your 3rd attempt was right on. Manhattan, knewton and other prep course materials are all supplements. OG is the real deal.
Are you confident about every single problem that you did on the OG?
Are you sure you wont make the same mistakes?
Internalizing the OG would be my advice.
Also make sure you dont just take the gmatprep test but learn from each and every problem, googling them to get answers at the manhattan forums or the gmatclub forums. Do insist on getting a solution from a verbal expert(in manhattan forums look for ron purewal's explanation)
Take a sneak peak at thursdays with Ron videos. The are, arguably, the best after-prep resource out there.
Lastly, 4 attempts on gmat, in my opinion, is not worth it. Unless you are absolutely sure to get a 720, why do you need to bother? Other parts of your application can be focused upon to offset your gmat retakes.
Just a thought.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Need help - 3rd failed GMAT attempt. [#permalink] New post 20 Sep 2012, 10:31
Thanks souvik101990. According to me, I am doing the analysis pretty well after each exam but it would be oblivious of me to say that I am not going wrong anywhere. I must be doing something wrong but I need some guidance on how to identify the wrong part. Then I can look in to how to fix the problem.

I ensure that I google every SC/CR question (including the ones I get right just to compare my though process) on those mock tests and read expert's comments.

Regarding 4th attempt, as much as I don't want to but belonging to a competitive pool and aiming for top10 B-school, I guess I have no choice but to hit the books again.

Thanks.

souvik101990 wrote:
I think the jump from your first score was impressive, and your third attempt is almost the same.
The strategy that you used in your 3rd attempt was right on. Manhattan, knewton and other prep course materials are all supplements. OG is the real deal.
Are you confident about every single problem that you did on the OG?
Are you sure you wont make the same mistakes?
Internalizing the OG would be my advice.
Also make sure you dont just take the gmatprep test but learn from each and every problem, googling them to get answers at the manhattan forums or the gmatclub forums. Do insist on getting a solution from a verbal expert(in manhattan forums look for ron purewal's explanation)
Take a sneak peak at thursdays with Ron videos. The are, arguably, the best after-prep resource out there.
Lastly, 4 attempts on gmat, in my opinion, is not worth it. Unless you are absolutely sure to get a 720, why do you need to bother? Other parts of your application can be focused upon to offset your gmat retakes.
Just a thought.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Need help - 3rd failed GMAT attempt. [#permalink] New post 20 Sep 2012, 10:32
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Re: Need help - 3rd failed GMAT attempt. [#permalink] New post 20 Sep 2012, 23:26
Hi,

May be its time you change your approach in SC and CR. Your verbal score indicates a rough patch in these areas. I agree you have absorbed all the rules time and time again ! But where's the application part of it ? Did you realize GMAT SC has become more logical as is GMAT CR ! Reading the SC answer choices vertically and splitting into groups has become obsolete ! SC focuses more on Logic of the sentence and next comes the grammar rules.

Understand the sentence structure (what clauses or phrases it is made up of ) -> It helps to understand the meaning of the sentence ( what is the intended meaning of this sentence) -> Meaning & structure helps you to find the logic of the sentence ! ( is the comparison used in the sentence logical and making sense, or is the Antecedent - pronoun pair though agree in number , actually make sense together or Is the modifier modifying the intended part of the sentence, and in doing so does it change the meaning ? )

Learn this aspect of SC. Just remember GMAT is a reasoning test of higher order , so we cannot assume that SC is purely based on grammar rules. That would be an incorrect assumption and thus the argument is flawed ! Try e-gmat course, they focus more on meaning and logic of the sentence !

After the course completion, try OG verbal review and OG 12 questions. Do you know , you can remove the splitting and re-grouping of answer choices from your mind and use a more logical approach to get to the original answer in most of the OG problems. Read these articles by mgmat that shed light on this aspect :
http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... orrection/
http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... on-part-2/
http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... h-meaning/

Takeaways :

Existing OG , Gmatprep and other offical questions all do have meaning issues ! But they can be easily tackled using grammar rules. But on the GMAT these days, we simply cannot rely on grammar principles, we have more than one choice that are grammatically correct but only by understanding the internal logic of the sentence (structure & Intended meaning), you can actually choose the correct answer !

Use this new strategy for solving OG & other official questions.

As far as CR is concerned, did you previously do Power-score CR ? I bet almost everyone who used it simply increased their CR accuracy and they depend less on intuition. power-score teaches you how to find the structure of a CR passage. Based on the structure , what reasoning we might expect in that passage. If you can predict the reasoning in this way, It becomes easy for you to know the author's line of reasoning in arriving at the conclusion and what are the reasoning errors committed by the author of a CR passage in arriving at that conclusion.It also teaches you reasoning errors used in incorrect answer choices. Though the book has less problems at end of each chapter, most of them are 700 level and they reinforce the concept learned in a fascinating way! Re-do the CR questions in OG with the newly learnt power score strategies !

These two aspects can greatly increase your verbal score . But of-course do not let RC undermine your total verbal score. Equally focus on RC and practice it !
Re: Need help - 3rd failed GMAT attempt.   [#permalink] 20 Sep 2012, 23:26
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