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1+ Year Studying - still in low 600s

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1+ Year Studying - still in low 600s  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 24 Nov 2019, 10:08
Hi All,

Need some advice from the blog here. Just took my GMAT and scored a 600 (36 V / 36 Q). Devastated. Been studying for over a year and still can't make progress. Goal (was) 730, idk now.

For reference, below are my CAT and official test scores for last ~4-5 months (because this is where I started studying with a tutor):

July: Official GMAT - 620 35/41, V/Q
September: Practice GMAT Prep 1 - 640 39/39, V/Q
October: Practice GMAT Prep 2 - 640 34/44, V/Q
October: Practice GMAT Prep 4 - 680 40/42, V/Q (This was a re-take. Took this back in July where I scored 580, 30/39 V/Q)
October: Official GMAT - 630 34/42, V/Q
October: Practice GMAT Prep 3 - 660 35/46, V/Q (This was a re-take. Took this back in June where I scored 640, 35/46 V/Q)
November: Practice GMAT Prep 6 - 650 36/43, V/Q
November: Practice GMAT Prep 5 - 700 35/49, V/Q (This was a re-take. Took this back in July where I scored 640, 34/44 V/Q)
November: Official GMAT - 600 36/36, V/Q


FYI - for all the practice GMAT preps:
- I do V and Q first, take the 8 minute break, but then usually skip the IR and Essay
- Don't do any non-official GMAT timing things i.e. pause CAT etc.
- Took them all at home, mostly around the same time as my test


As you can tell - my Quant score is ALL OVER the place. My verbal is steady at 34/35. Worst part about verbal is it isn't just one area I'm weak in. Per my ESR, sometimes, I'll do good on SC and RC, then another time I'll do good on CR - it's so confusing (I'm also a native English speaker if that matters).


Studying so far:
- Done Manhattan prep in-person course
- Working with an official Poets & Quants rated / featured tutor once a week
- Study atleast 2.5-3 hours on weekdays and 4-5 hours on weekends.
- Have an error log that I visit almost everyday. Here I re-do problems I got wrong, and again, re-do problems that I get wrong the second time. I try to understand why I got these problem wrong and read everyone's post on GMATClub
- Been seriously studying since April. Initially had a tutor who I met once a week. That didn't work out because I took an official in July and score only improved 30 points (after 3 months of tutoring)
- Next, hired a new tutor. Been meeting new tutor once a week for last 3.5 months, yet my score from July of 620 has barely budged (see reported scores above)



What am I doing wrong? I'm going crazy and going broke spending all this money on prep. I already told my employer about my b-school plans so they are expecting me to leave...... anyway. Thanks for the help all.

EMPOWERgmatRichC bb

Originally posted by nycguymba on 24 Nov 2019, 09:01.
Last edited by nycguymba on 24 Nov 2019, 10:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1+ Year Studying - still in low 600s  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2019, 09:23
One year is a very long period of preparation. Spending more time in preparation is not necessarily a good strategy and may even cause your natural potential to dip significantly. You may think about trying new approaches.

Try intensive study sessions concentrated in weeks rather than months and years. Doing mock tests is less useful than learning. Practice untimed. Go through each answer choice and attempt to understand why four choices are incorrect. This will be especially important for verbal.

Keeping formal error logs may be wasteful for some testtakers. Instead, you should clearly identify your typical patterns. Whether you keep track of them in a formal error log or in your informal notes or simply tucked in the mind is up to you. However, you need to keep in mind the amount of time and energy that will be spent in each method.

Verbal questions involve a lot of logic. So you may benefit by studying logic and reasoning skills. Practice is key to understanding patterns.

There is much distraction that will you will encounter when preparation is spread over years. There are too many tutors, prep materials and other distractions. Think about how you can slim down distractions. Focus only on a few. External sources can only do so much. Trust your own judgment that is backed by sound preparation. GL!
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Re: 1+ Year Studying - still in low 600s  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2019, 16:42
Hi nycguymba,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not go as well as hoped. In a post from early-2018, you noted that you had taken the Official GMAT and scored 590. It's now over 1.5 years later, and these 3 additional Official Scores are all at the same general level (right around a 610 +/- a few points). This implies that you've been performing at this level for some time - and you've likely developed some bad habits over the course of your studies that are keeping you from scoring higher. Thankfully, the GMAT is the same consistent, predictable Exam that it's always been, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

Before we discuss how you might best proceed with this next phase of your studies, I'd like to know a bit more about your current timeline and goals:

1) What are your current application plans (including application deadlines that you're considering)?
2) What is the minimum GMAT Score that you would apply with?
3) Have you taken the Official GMAT any other times (and if so, then on what dates and what were your Scores?)?

While the ESR doesn’t provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong on Test Day (and what you should work on to score higher). Since you purchased the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you. If you would rather not post it publicly, then you can feel free to PM it directly to me.

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1+ Year Studying - still in low 600s  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2019, 16:47
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi nycguymba,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not go as well as hoped. In a post from early-2018, you noted that you had taken the Official GMAT and scored 590. It's now over 1.5 years later, and these 3 additional Official Scores are all at the same general level (right around a 610 +/- a few points). This implies that you've been performing at this level for some time - and you've likely developed some bad habits over the course of your studies that are keeping you from scoring higher. Thankfully, the GMAT is the same consistent, predictable Exam that it's always been, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

Before we discuss how you might best proceed with this next phase of your studies, I'd like to know a bit more about your current timeline and goals:

1) What are your current application plans (including application deadlines that you're considering)?
2) What is the minimum GMAT Score that you would apply with?
3) Have you taken the Official GMAT any other times (and if so, then on what dates and what were your Scores?)?

While the ESR doesn’t provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong on Test Day (and what you should work on to score higher). Since you purchased the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you. If you would rather not post it publicly, then you can feel free to PM it directly to me.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Thanks Rich. And yes, the I've been around the same for 1.5 years.. somehow my verbal has fluctuated quite a bit (was 38V / 35 Q 1.5 years ago) - either way, l likely issue with my studying.

Plan to retake in exactly 18 days :(

Need to apply round 2 (so by January). At this point, I will likely to apply with whatever score I get bc I have no choice to wait another year.

Do you know what might be causing the large fluctuation in Quant across the practice exams?
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1+ Year Studying - still in low 600s  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2019, 16:48
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi nycguymba,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not go as well as hoped. In a post from early-2018, you noted that you had taken the Official GMAT and scored 590. It's now over 1.5 years later, and these 3 additional Official Scores are all at the same general level (right around a 610 +/- a few points). This implies that you've been performing at this level for some time - and you've likely developed some bad habits over the course of your studies that are keeping you from scoring higher. Thankfully, the GMAT is the same consistent, predictable Exam that it's always been, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

Before we discuss how you might best proceed with this next phase of your studies, I'd like to know a bit more about your current timeline and goals:

1) What are your current application plans (including application deadlines that you're considering)?
2) What is the minimum GMAT Score that you would apply with?
3) Have you taken the Official GMAT any other times (and if so, then on what dates and what were your Scores?)?

While the ESR doesn’t provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong on Test Day (and what you should work on to score higher). Since you purchased the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you. If you would rather not post it publicly, then you can feel free to PM it directly to me.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Regarding my ESR.. In my post I was referring to my ESR from my old test - I'm waiting to receive my ESR from my most recent test (some technical delay) - but I'll PM this to you as soon I have it. THanks!
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Re: 1+ Year Studying - still in low 600s  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2019, 20:17
Hi nycguymba,

While I understand that you might want to retest as soon as possible, you should remember your REAL GOAL: to get into your first-choice Business School. You have to be careful about twisting that Goal to fit an application deadline. The Goal is NOT to "apply for Round 2 with whatever GMAT Score I have."

Last year, you mentioned that you were interested in Harvard, CBS and Yale - and I assume that those are still your top choices. As those are some highly-competitive Schools, you need a strong GMAT Score along with a strong overall profile and you need to properly 'market yourself' to each individual Program that you apply to. There's no benefit to 'rushing in' an application if it's not going to be strong enough to earn you an invite. If a GMAT Score isn't competitive-enough to get you into the Schools that you want to attend, then you probably shouldn't apply for Round 2 - you should continue to study, try to score higher and apply for Round 3 (or next year's Round 1).

The variations in your Quant Scores are likely due to a mix of 'lucky' and 'unlucky' guesses on Test Day (especially on DS - since those questions have no 'safety net'; if you make a little mistake on a DS question, then you'll never realize it and you'll convince yourself that one of the wrong answers is correct).

Assuming that your current GMAT 'ability level' is right around a 610, then raising that type of Score to the point that you can consistently score 700+ will likely require at least another 2 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level - but you have to properly train, and that means learning and practicing the necessary Tactics. We'll know more once we have your ESR to review.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: 1+ Year Studying - still in low 600s  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Nov 2019, 20:46
Hi nycguymba,

I’m sorry to hear how things have been going with your GMAT. FIrst off, if you are applying to some top schools, although you certainly can attempt your exam in 18 days, if you once again do not hit your score goal, then you likely should not apply in the second round.

Regarding how to move forward with your prep, since you have been studying for more than a year and still are not close to hitting your score goal, you really need to look at HOW you have been preparing and make some changes, right? The likely reason for the fluctuations in your quant score is that you have not fully mastered each quant topic, and thus you score higher when you are presented with a batch of questions that suits your strengths and lower when you are not presented with such questions. In order to improve your quant skills (and achieve more consistent scores), you need to take a linear approach to your prep, one that allows you to learn each quant topic individually, and then practice each topic until you’ve gained mastery. By studying in such a way, you can methodically improve your GMAT quant skills and ensure that you leave no stone unturned.

If you’d like any further advice, feel free to reach out. You also may find it helpful to read the following article:

The Phases of Preparing for the GMAT
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Re: 1+ Year Studying - still in low 600s   [#permalink] 26 Nov 2019, 20:46
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