several people has asked me if it is possible to improve your quant score form 44-46 range to 50+, how this can be done and how much time is needed..... so i gave it some thought....
obviously - everyone is different.... each has different weaknesses and stregths so there is no generic answer to all - but still, i think that there can be some rough guidelines for doing this leap.... here are my thoughts about it.
if you are constantly performing at the 44-46 quant range (previous gmats, trustable prep material) i guess you:
- mastered most of the required skilled
- understand the structure and requirements of gmat math questions
your problems are likely to be in the following areas:
- "silly mistakes" i.e. things that in the pressure of the gmat you do wrong although you know and understand them
- get yourself into unnecessary complications in solving some of the questions.
- timing issues... there are some things that just take you too much time to get right.
- mistakes that are a result of a subtlety of concepts that you werent sure about (which made you both spend time, eventually guessing or answering without confidence, sometime getting it wrong)
the most common prep mistake (in my view...) that people do:
- concentrating on advanced concepts and hard questions. the ROI of this kind of prep is small (it would be higher if you were to advance for 48-49 to 51).
what you should do (again.... my own opinion):
- perfect your basic techniques. for example: solving regular linear, one variable equations should be performed with no mistakes at all, and should take you no more than 20-30 seconds; doing simple arithmetic - again... no mistakes are allowed, do it fast and with confidence... etc...
- boost your confidence. my suggestion - do questions again and again, until you can do, in time, without guessing and providing full answers, until you can do a full test (37 questions of various difficulty) with no more then 2-3 mistakes.
- try to look for the simplest way of solving things. don't "buy" comlex explanations. for 95% of gmat questions there are simple explanations. also, don't sufficient yourself with just one way to solve questions. for many questions there are more than one good way to solve. familiarizing yourself with all of them will help you find the simplest way to do it.
- look for specialized material that concentrates (correctly) on subtleties of concepts, especially the concepts you feel are difficult for you. this is the most difficult part, as it is hard to come across specialized question sets. in fact, i thought of compiling such sets, but unfortunately i don't have much time for that. on the other hand - you can use this forum wisely. if you ask about a subtlety of a concept in this forum i'd probably answer giving 2-3 gmat like questions that uncover it.
- try GMAT Club tests
- these are hard math problems designed to make you work hard for every question
again these are general guidelines....
as you can see the ROI (or effectiveness) of a prep method depends on where you are and what you want to achieve.
concentrating on advanced concepts is good for 48->51
the above is better for 44->50
for 36-40 -> 45 you should probably spend more time reviewing concepts that are not clear to you (there are certainly some if you score less than 40). for under 35 you should probably continue review basic skills before moving forward....
any opinions? comments?