Sorry to join the discussion so late! CharlieT, what were your verbal scores on your GMATPrep tests
? It sounds like you did really well on the verbal sections of your Knewton
and MGMAT tests, fairly badly on Kaplan
's verbal tests, and maybe just OK on your GMATPrep tests
. At the very least, the scores weren't very consistent, and that can be a sign that you have some inconsistencies in your approach to verbal in general.
It also sounds like you might be putting a little bit too much faith in your MGMAT and Knewton
results. Keep in mind that it's unbelievably difficult for test-prep companies to perfectly copy the actual GMAT exam, especially on the verbal side. Real GMAT verbal questions are incredibly nuanced and rigorously tested, and no test-prep company can match the style of real questions--they simply can't put as much energy into developing verbal questions as GMAC does.
MGMAT and Knewton
tests can be a useful part of your studies, but the scores might not be very accurate. If, for example, you've used a lot of MGMAT materials, it's likely that you'll get used to their writing style, and you'll do disproportionately well on their tests. The shaky results on the Kaplan
tests are a sign that you might have mastered MGMAT and Knewton
verbal questions, without completely mastering GMAT verbal questions in general. GMATPrep is the only truly accurate practice test out there... but even then, every test-prep company bases their tests on the GMATPrep, so it isn't shocking to see slightly inflated GMATPrep scores, since you've probably already seen versions of the GMATPrep questions when you worked through materials from MGMAT/Kaplan
So the bad news is that if you got a pair of 650s on your GMATPrep tests
, then it isn't too surprising that you fell well short of a 700. A 600 or 610 is a really unpleasant surprise, but it's a little bit less shocking if it turns out that your GMATPrep scores were inflated. And as GoodGanjaGrades suggested, a few careless errors early in the verbal section can send your score into a tailspin.
My hunch is that you aren't as methodical, consistent, or systematic as you could be on the verbal questions, and it also sounds like you might suffer from doing too many "knockoff" questions. Have you already gone through the entire OG, the quant/verbal supplements, and the GMATPrep Question Pack? If you've done tons of verbal questions from other companies, then you'll become really good at their tests--and you might not be all that great at picking up on the nuances of actual GMAT questions, especially if a relatively small percentage of your questions have been real, retired GMAT questions.
It's definitely possible to improve your score on your third attempt, so don't let that discourage you! If you're going to go for tutoring, you might consider hiring an independent instructor--it sounds like you've already learned the methods offered by the large companies, and maybe it's time for something completely different. Try gmatix.com or craigslist to find somebody in your local area, maybe? And whatever you do, try to spend more of your time on official GMAT questions (or LSAT questions for extra CR and RC practice), and take the practice test scores with a grain of salt.
I hope this helps a little bit. Good luck with everything, Charlie!
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