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34 yo GMAT - holy hell this is a minefield!

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New post 15 Jun 2019, 12:26
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Hello all,

I am a 34 yo small business owner, who wants to sit for GMAT. I used to be pretty good in quant back in my high school days but have all but forgotten it totally (even forgot the most basic things). My Prep Test was a disappointing 510. My target score is 720. While I know that sounds like a laughable/questionable target given my initial score and the overall 3-month prep time I am setting for myself, can someone please suggest how to best go about it? I have looked at the study plans circulating here and have decided I will -

1. Maintain an error log
2. 1st month study 2hrs weekday and 3-4 hrs weekends. Study hours will be divided in to actual studying and solving small sets of questions. I will initially do a 4D Quant and 3D Verbal split
3. End of 4th week do another full mock
4. 2nd month move in to higher gear and do a mock every week while doing larger question sets on a daily basis (by now studying will be over)
5. End of 8th week do one full mock in test conditions
6. Final 3-4 weeks work on tweaking focus based on scores with two more test condition mocks ending a week before the actual test date

Does this sound like a good plan to follow? I will be studying offline, with PDFs/books and focusing mainly on Manhattan strategy guides for studying/refreshing.

Any help/suggestions/reprimand :) will be welcome.

Best,
Marketmama

(I swear to god 510 isn't who I am!)
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New post 15 Jun 2019, 13:32
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2
Welcome to GMAT Club!

1. You have a high goal but it is not laughable. It is possible to improve 200 points within 3-4 months. 200 points requires a good and rigorous jolt. For example, variantguy https://gmatclub.com/forum/12-weeks-to- ... 97343.html was able to get to 750 and he is 30, so you can definitely get to 720. Many prep companies advertise average improvement from in-person courses at 120 points (that's what our research shows from GMAT Club Reviews based on MGMAT and Veritas Prep courses). Private Tutoring can that average to 160.


2. I did not use any of those as I was super poor, so I studied with books but I made sure that created notes for each topic and if I made a mistake, I made a promise never to make a similar mistake again and to explore the material behind that mistake and make sure I am prepared. I started at 540 and went to 750.


3. You can do it but you will have to restructure your days (read varintguy's debrief and replies later for how many hours per day he studied).

4. YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE CATS/TESTS UNTIL YOU COVERED ALL QUANT OR ALL VERBAL. What's the point? You will get some questions right but if you have not covered geometry and statistics, you will bomb those, so your score will inconclusive and you would have wasted a test, bunch of time, and probably discourage yourself. Instead take small quizzes after/within each chapter and aim to have 90% right to hit your score. If you are not getting 90% right (under timed conditions - always time yourself doing any question and make sure you are done in 2 mins - you must feel the pressure of the time). Anyway. if you are not hitting 90%, think why, and find a solution.

5. Focus on material instead of questions. Some people feel that if they do 1 hour of learning and then 2-3 hours of questions per day, that will help. It does not. Questions check your ability/knowledge. They are a measuring tool. You don't want to spend 3 hours measuring something and only 1 hour of actual work. MGMAT Guides are great!!! Make sure you also have the Official Guide. The latest edition would be the best but if you already have an earlier edition, that will do too.


6. Your are older and your options for MBA will be different than if you were 27. Make sure you know your options (EU programs, EMBA, PGPX in India, and some specialty ones such as Sloan and Stanford MSx). US Top 20 FT MBA won't take 35 yo applicants. Let me know if this is news.


7. You have a bachelor's degree I assume? No matter your accomplishments, pretty much all programs will ding applicants without a 4-year degree. Make sure you research that aspect if you are unsure about your undergrad.


Again welcome and hopefully all my warnings have not scared you off. That was not my goal :)
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New post 15 Jun 2019, 16:28
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Hi marketmama,

To start, this 510 is a reasonable Score for your initial CAT (the average Score on the Official GMAT hovers around 550 most years). Many Test Takers are unhappy with their initial practice scores, but you really shouldn't be. That 510 is just a measure of your skills right now - and you'll improve on that result over time as you learn more about the content, Tactics and little 'secrets' of the Exam. Raising a 510 to the point that you can consistently score 720+ will likely require at least 3 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.

From what you describe, your immediate study plan is going to be 'book heavy'; unfortunately, many Test Takers who study in that way end up getting 'stuck' at a particular score level. There's no harm in starting off your studies in that fashion though, but it's likely that you'll end up needing to invest in some additional, non-book resources at some point.

Before I can offer you any additional advice, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your goals:

1) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
3) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: 34 yo GMAT - holy hell this is a minefield!  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jun 2019, 22:22
bb wrote:
Welcome to GMAT Club!

1. You have a high goal but it is not laughable. It is possible to improve 200 points within 3-4 months. 200 points requires a good and rigorous jolt. For example, varintguy was able to get to 750 and he is 30, so you can definitely get to 720. Many prep companies advertise average improvement from in-person courses at 120 points (that's what our research shows from GMAT Club Reviews based on MGMAT and Veritas Prep courses). Private Tutoring can that average to 160.


2. I did not use any of those as I was super poor, so I studied with books but I made sure that created notes for each topic and if I made a mistake, I made a promise never to make a similar mistake again and to explore the material behind that mistake and make sure I am prepared. I started at 540 and went to 750.


3. You can do it but you will have to restructure your days (read varintguy's debrief and replies later for how many hours per day he studied).

4. YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE CATS/TESTS UNTIL YOU COVERED ALL QUANT OR ALL VERBAL. What's the point? You will get some questions right but if you have not covered geometry and statistics, you will bomb those, so your score will inconclusive and you would have wasted a test, bunch of time, and probably discourage yourself. Instead take small quizzes after/within each chapter and aim to have 90% right to hit your score. If you are not getting 90% right (under timed conditions - always time yourself doing any question and make sure you are done in 2 mins - you must feel the pressure of the time). Anyway. if you are not hitting 90%, think why, and find a solution.

5. Focus on material instead of questions. Some people feel that if they do 1 hour of learning and then 2-3 hours of questions per day, that will help. It does not. Questions check your ability/knowledge. They are a measuring tool. You don't want to spend 3 hours measuring something and only 1 hour of actual work. MGMAT Guides are great!!! Make sure you also have the Official Guide. The latest edition would be the best but if you already have an earlier edition, that will do too.


6. Your are older and your options for MBA will be different than if you were 27. Make sure you know your options (EU programs, EMBA, PGPX in India, and some specialty ones such as Sloan and Stanford MSx). US Top 20 FT MBA won't take 35 yo applicants. Let me know if this is news.


7. You have a bachelor's degree I assume? No matter your accomplishments, pretty much all programs will ding applicants without a 4-year degree. Make sure you research that aspect if you are unsure about your undergrad.


Again welcome and hopefully all my warnings have not scared you off. That was not my goal :)




Thanks so much bb. This is really very helpful. You haven't scared me off. On the contrary, you helped me realise that I wasn't being too unrealistic. Its an uphill task for sure, but not insurmountable.

I will focus on material more than tests, as you have suggested. I think that makes more sense. Forgot to mention that I have the 2019 OGs too. I am following u/varintguy's breakdown closely.

The age issue, thankfully, isn't news to me. The schools on my list are all Canadian (except for the usual 3 Australian ones). I am looking at 1-year FT MBAs and EMBAs at these places. Usual suspects like Rotman, Schulich, Ivey, Queen's, McGill, Melbourne, NSW and Sydney are on my radar. I have had a few exchanges with their admissions office (with my CV and profile) and most were positive about it (some outright declined due to my age but suggested EMBAs instead).

I have a 3 year BA (hons) and a 1 year UK MA. Most schools so far have found that to be acceptable. But please let me know if you think otherwise.

Thanks so much, once again!
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New post 15 Jun 2019, 23:40
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi marketmama,

To start, this 510 is a reasonable Score for your initial CAT (the average Score on the Official GMAT hovers around 550 most years). Many Test Takers are unhappy with their initial practice scores, but you really shouldn't be. That 510 is just a measure of your skills right now - and you'll improve on that result over time as you learn more about the content, Tactics and little 'secrets' of the Exam. Raising a 510 to the point that you can consistently score 720+ will likely require at least 3 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.

From what you describe, your immediate study plan is going to be 'book heavy'; unfortunately, many Test Takers who study in that way end up getting 'stuck' at a particular score level. There's no harm in starting off your studies in that fashion though, but it's likely that you'll end up needing to invest in some additional, non-book resources at some point.

Before I can offer you any additional advice, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your goals:

1) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
3) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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


Thanks rich! Positive words from someone who scored 800 (I mean, jeez!), is a big boost to confidence. Yes, it will be 'book-heavy' to begin with. Though I will not discount the use of non-book resources in the near future, given my financial status right now, chances are slim. :(

For certain personal reasons, I am initially looking at the Jan 2020 sessions for those schools that have the Jan entry (Sep GMAT results just falls within the international cutoff dates), like Queen's. If I miss those for some reason (fingers crossed I don't), then its the next available session.

Canadian and Aussie schools - Rotman, Schulich, Queen's, Ivey, McGill, Sauder, Melbourne, NSW, Sydney etc. So, the top 20 schools in either country.

I would like to study 3 hrs weekdays and 5 hrs weekends. But if I am honest, given my present workload, I will just about hit the 2hrs weekdays and 3/4hrs weekends. I will surely try to push it, but dunno whether I will be able to sustain that over the three months.

Look forward to your advice.

Many thanks,
Marketmama
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New post Updated on: 16 Jun 2019, 22:15
bb wrote:
Welcome to GMAT Club!


7. You have a bachelor's degree I assume? No matter your accomplishments, pretty much all programs will ding applicants without a 4-year degree. Make sure you research that aspect if you are unsure about your undergrad.



Hi bb

I am also on the same boat and have a 3-year B.Sc IT degree preparing for GMAT. I am 29 years old having 9 years of consulting experience in IBM & Deloitte. Do you think B.Sc IT degree with 9 years of experience will be a problem for me while applying for the colleges?

I would really appreciate your reply on the same

My target colleges are :

1) Insead
2) Kellog 1 Yr MBA
3) Ivey
4) Rotman
5) Schulich

I am still doing research parallelly for what kind of schools should I focus.

Originally posted by abhishekpasricha on 16 Jun 2019, 01:32.
Last edited by abhishekpasricha on 16 Jun 2019, 22:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 34 yo GMAT - holy hell this is a minefield!  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2019, 15:18
Hi marketmama,

I've sent you a PM with some suggestions for your studies.

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New post 16 Jun 2019, 16:39
Hi marketmama.

One thing I would add to your plan is topic by topic mastery of the GMAT. By topic by topic mastery, I mean work on one topic at a time, first deep diving into that topic to learn all about it, and then answering dozens of questions from that topic alone until you master it.

Logic dictates that, once you master enough GMAT topics, you will hit your target score, and this topic by topic mastery type of process works much better than jumping from topic to topic or from question type to question type without having mastered the topic that you are jumping from.

Sure, it can make sense to leave a topic for a while and revisit it later. All the same, the main point I'm seeking to make is that mastering topics one at a time is a very effective way to prepare for the GMAT.

One more super important move that you can make is doing a lot of untimed practice of answering GMAT questions. Timed practice, while popular, doesn't give you time to learn how to correctly answer questions. You have to use untimed practice and seek to speed up by building skill, rather than by seeking to force yourself to answer questions faster than you are ready to answer them.

You may get some additional insights from the following posts.

How to Score a 700+ on the GMAT — A Mini Guide for Success

How To Increase Your GMAT Quant Score
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New post 16 Jun 2019, 21:55
You are highjacking a thread technically.... for something you could discover for just a search away: https://gmatclub.com/forum/a-list-of-gl ... 17021.html
You probably want to search on each of the program's websites for the answer and if you don't see it called out, perhaps reach out via email to them.

Good Luck!


abhishekpasricha wrote:
bb wrote:
Welcome to GMAT Club!


7. You have a bachelor's degree I assume? No matter your accomplishments, pretty much all programs will ding applicants without a 4-year degree. Make sure you research that aspect if you are unsure about your undergrad.



Hi bb

I also on the same boat and have a 3-year B.Sc IT degree preparing for GMAT. I am 29 years old having 9 years of consulting experience in IBM & Deloitte. Do you think B.Sc IT degree with 9 years of experience will be a problem for me while applying for the colleges?

I would really appreciate your reply on the same

My target colleges are :

1) Insead
2) Kellog 1 Yr MBA
3) Ivey
4) Rotman
5) Schulich

I am still doing research parallelly for what kind of schools should I focus.

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Re: 34 yo GMAT - holy hell this is a minefield!  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2019, 22:20
bb wrote:
You are highjacking a thread technically.... for something you could discover for just a search away: https://gmatclub.com/forum/a-list-of-gl ... 17021.html
You probably want to search on each of the program's websites for the answer and if you don't see it called out, perhaps reach out via email to them.

Good Luck!


abhishekpasricha wrote:
bb wrote:
Welcome to GMAT Club!


7. You have a bachelor's degree I assume? No matter your accomplishments, pretty much all programs will ding applicants without a 4-year degree. Make sure you research that aspect if you are unsure about your undergrad.



Hi bb

I also on the same boat and have a 3-year B.Sc IT degree preparing for GMAT. I am 29 years old having 9 years of consulting experience in IBM & Deloitte. Do you think B.Sc IT degree with 9 years of experience will be a problem for me while applying for the colleges?

I would really appreciate your reply on the same

My target colleges are :

1) Insead
2) Kellog 1 Yr MBA
3) Ivey
4) Rotman
5) Schulich

I am still doing research parallelly for what kind of schools should I focus.


Appreciate your reply bb

Thanks for your inputs.

I will be mindful of not technically hijacking the thread in future :|
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New post 17 Jun 2019, 08:26
bb wrote:

6. Your are older and your options for MBA will be different than if you were 27. Make sure you know your options (EU programs, EMBA, PGPX in India, and some specialty ones such as Sloan and Stanford MSx). US Top 20 FT MBA won't take 35 yo applicants. Let me know if this is news.

Hi bb
Are you sure that top 20 won't take 35 yrs applicant? I, actually, search top-notch university requirement; i did not find their restriction on 35 yrs applicant! Could you clarify a bit?
Thanks__

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Re: 34 yo GMAT - holy hell this is a minefield!  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2019, 08:45
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Thanks for your question Asad.

I suggest searching on gmat club for the age discussion and reference points. European schools will take older applicants. However the United States programs rarely take people after 33. It’s not black-and-white of course but the thinking is that by that age one should have either reached an executive management level within a company and thus be an EMBA candidate or is not qualified if it took them so long to get to the place where 26 year olds are.

Moreover, business school recruiting and especially on campus recruiting I designed for younger applicants with less experience and willing to take entry level MBA jobs weather at a bank or MBB or Amazon. They are hiring 27-year-olds who will be managed by 30-year-olds ( these guys got hired a few years ago). Hiring at 35 or 37-year-old breaks that whole model. You would be recruiting on your own which again at that point you may as well get an EMBA or PT program.

There are of course exceptions for athletes and military candidates since their career track works differently but few of them apply at 35


Asad wrote:
bb wrote:

6. Your are older and your options for MBA will be different than if you were 27. Make sure you know your options (EU programs, EMBA, PGPX in India, and some specialty ones such as Sloan and Stanford MSx). US Top 20 FT MBA won't take 35 yo applicants. Let me know if this is news.

Hi bb
Are you sure that top 20 won't take 35 yrs applicant? I, actually, search top-notch university requirement; i did not find their restriction on 35 yrs applicant! Could you clarify a bit?
Thanks__

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Re: 34 yo GMAT - holy hell this is a minefield!   [#permalink] 17 Jun 2019, 08:45
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