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3rd Attempt and another 620. What to do better next, to get 700+.

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Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 21
Location: United Arab Emirates
GMAT 1: 610 Q45 V28
GMAT 2: 620 Q44 V32
GMAT 3: 640 Q49 V29
GMAT 4: 700 Q48 V38
GPA: 3.76
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3rd Attempt and another 620. What to do better next, to get 700+.  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jul 2017, 02:59
Hi everyone,

I just took my 3rd attempt at the test this past week after 7 months of studying and ended up with a 620 (Q42 V35). I'm really hoping to break the 700 barrier, and would love some guidance on what I can do to improve.

A bit more background: I took my first attempt last November after 3 months of studying and going through Manhattan's 9-week course. I ended up with a score of 610 (Q45 V28), I really wanted to apply to Round 2 for school so I decided to do it again within a month but this time I tried EMPOWERgmat and went through the OG. I took the exam again in December and ended up with a 620 (Q44 V32). I decided I needed to take a step back and would not apply to business school in Fall of 2017.

I took a month off in January and then started to hit the books again in February. I studied using the OG, my Error Log, and the 494 question-pack from GMAC. I also ended up buying the Official Verbal guide and used those questions in my studying. I was taking practice tests every alternate week up until the test my scores were as follows:

MGMAT: 640 (Q42V36)
MGMAT: 670 (Q46V35)
MGMAT: 660 (Q44V36)
GMATPrep:690 (Q47V38)
GMATPrep:700(Q48V38)
GMATPrep:660(Q49V32)
GMATPrep:660(Q48V34)

I took the last 4 in real testing conditions and 2 of the MGMATs (670 and 660) I took a little longer break in between the sections of those tests. I feel like my weakest link in verbal is SC as it takes me 1.5-2mins sometimes to solve a problem. I feel like I'm pretty good in Quant but my most recent score on the test shocked me.

I'm planning on doing the test again in a month's time and would love some insight from folks on what are the areas I should prioritize and what else I can do to raise my score up to a 700.

Thanks!
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
V
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 14198
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: 3rd Attempt and another 620. What to do better next, to get 700+.  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jul 2017, 15:38
Hi Apurve,

While your Official Verbal Scores appear to have steadily improved, your Overall GMAT Scores have been remarkably consistent (and it's worth noting that your Verbal Scores all revolve around a V31-V32, which is certainly within the margin of error). This implies that you keep 'handling' the Official GMAT in the exact same way every time that you take it (regardless of how you've studied or any new Tactics that you may have learned). Considering the amount of study time that you've put in already - and the various study materials that you've used - it's likely that you have gotten 'stuck' at this score level. There's also a question of whether you've actually tried to change your approach to this Test or if you just worked through lots of practice questions in the same ways as before.

Since we have an ESR from one of your earlier Exams, it might be helpful to have the ESR for this Exam; the data within it would help to confirm what's happening to you on Test Day. If you purchase that ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you. Beyond that point, since you've listed recent practice CAT scores, I have a few questions about how you took these CATs:

1) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
2) Did you take them in the same 'order' as the sections appeared on your Official GMAT?
3) Did you take them at home?
4) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
5) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
6) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________
760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/
Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 21
Location: United Arab Emirates
GMAT 1: 610 Q45 V28
GMAT 2: 620 Q44 V32
GMAT 3: 640 Q49 V29
GMAT 4: 700 Q48 V38
GPA: 3.76
Reviews Badge
Re: 3rd Attempt and another 620. What to do better next, to get 700+.  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2017, 05:53
Hi Rich,

Since I cancelled my score I wasn't able to access the ESR for some reason. I've emailed the folks from MBA.com to ask them to get me my ESR and supplied them the code. I will send it to you as soon as I get it.

To answer your questions:
1. The first 3 CATs I only did the Quant and Verbal Sections. The other 4 CATS I did all the sections.
2. The first 5 I took in the original order (essay, IR, Quant, Verbal). The last 2 CATs I took it in the following order, which was the same as what I took on test day: Quant, Verbal, IR, essay
3. Yup I took these at home
4. I took the practice tests around 11AM/12PM and took the real test at 10 AM
5. The first 2 CATs I took longer breaks than I would have had on test day but the others I was taking them under real test conditions.
6. Yes, the first 4 CATs were new versions of some I had taken much earlier (almost 6 months ago) but the last 3 were all brand new.

Thanks for the help!
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
V
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 14198
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: 3rd Attempt and another 620. What to do better next, to get 700+.  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2017, 20:32
Hi Apurve,

Test Day is a rather specific 'event' - the details are specific and they matter, so you have to train as best as you can for all of them. The more realistic you can make your CATs, the more likely the score results are to be accurate. The more you deviate, the more "inflated" your practice scores can become - and that's what happened here. By skipping sections, taking the CATs at home, taking them at different times of day, etc., you weren't properly training for the FULL GMAT 'experience.' By extension, your practice CAT scores were not accurate.

I'm hoping that you can clarify one of your answers. Since this was your 3rd Official GMAT, are you saying that you did not use those 4 Official practice CATs while you studied for either of your prior 2 attempts? In addition, are you saying that you never saw any of the questions from those 4 CATs during your studies (not even working through questions in the Forums here)?

Beyond the inconsistencies in how you took your practice CATs, there are some other possible factors that could have impacted your performance, so I have a few additional questions about the lead-up to Test Day and Test Day itself:

1) What did you do in the 3 days before your GMAT?
2) How did you sleep the night before your Test?
3) How long was the ride to the Test Center from your home?
4) Were there any distractions at the facility or during the Test?
5) What did you do during the two 8-minute breaks?
6) Did you finish any sections early?
7) Did you have to rush to finish any sections (and guess on questions just to finish on time)?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________
760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/
GMAT Club Bot
Re: 3rd Attempt and another 620. What to do better next, to get 700+.   [#permalink] 26 Jul 2017, 20:32
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3rd Attempt and another 620. What to do better next, to get 700+.

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