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440 on GMAC Practice 1 - strategy for 720 in four months?!

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440 on GMAC Practice 1 - strategy for 720 in four months?!  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jan 2019, 12:30
Hi all, I recently took my first full practice exam on the official GMAC site and scored a 440 (Q26, V25). It was more or less a cold score since I had done very little preparation---only took a trial MGMAT class weeks ago---and it didn't help that I had to guess a few questions since I couldn't see the graphs for the geometry questions (browser issue? idk). I plan to take the actual test around mid to late May of this year, which allows me ~4 months to prep. My goals are to score 720+ to have a chance at a top 15 MBA program, particularly NYU and Columbia.

In addition to taking a trial MGMAT class weeks ago, I also attended a trial Veritas class hosted by Ravi Sreerama, but this was after I took the practice exam. I originally intended to pay and continue the course, but realized that after taking the practice exam, I desperately need to brush up on my fundamentals in order to fully take advantage of any live GMAT course.

Based on my score distribution, I'm unfortunately weak on both ends. I do plan on eventually attending the full course by Ravi, the next one starting on March 11th, so I want to get the fundamentals nailed down by the time I start his class. I plan to allocate 2-3 hours per weekday and ~6 hrs per day on the weekend for studying, leading up to my exam date.

With that being said, what do you guys recommend, materials and strategy wise? Thanks in advance!
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Re: 440 on GMAC Practice 1 - strategy for 720 in four months?!  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jan 2019, 12:37
Y2A wrote:
Hi all, I recently took my first full practice exam on the official GMAC site and scored a 440 (Q26, V25). It was more or less a cold score since I had done very little preparation---only took a trial MGMAT class weeks ago---and it didn't help that I had to guess a few questions since I couldn't see the graphs for the geometry questions (browser issue? idk). I plan to take the actual test around mid to late May of this year, which allows me ~4 months to prep. My goals are to score 720+ to have a chance at a top 15 MBA program, particularly NYU and Columbia.

In addition to taking a trial MGMAT class weeks ago, I also attended a trial Veritas class hosted by Ravi Sreerama, but this was after I took the practice exam. I originally intended to pay and continue the course, but realized that after taking the practice exam, I desperately need to brush up on my fundamentals in order to fully take advantage of any live GMAT course.

Based on my score distribution, I'm unfortunately weak on both ends. I do plan on eventually attending the full course by Ravi, the next one starting on March 11th, so I want to get the fundamentals nailed down by the time I start his class. I plan to allocate 2-3 hours per weekday and ~6 hrs per day on the weekend for studying, leading up to my exam date.

With that being said, what do you guys recommend, materials and strategy wise? Thanks in advance!


Hi Y2A,

Welcome to GMATCLUB. 4 months is good enough to improve your score. It’s a good thing you have taken a GMAT Mock once. You now know your weaknesses and work on them. If you are willing to study dedicatedly for that period, you are sure to achieve your goal. I think you need to solidify you base and adopt a proper technique to answer the questions. I believe you may benefit from taking a GMATPREP course. If you are willing, there are some great GMAT prep companies that can help you with your preparation.

In order to make an informed decision I would highly encourage you to go to their websites and try on their free trial and decide for yourself which one do you like better. You try out free access to EmpowerGMAT, Magoosh and Optimus Prep as they have great reviews on GMATCLUB.

Also for verbal, I would highly encourage you to consider e-gmat verbal online or the e-gmat verbal live course. They are both amazing courses especially designed for non-natives. They offer almost 25% of their courses for free so you can try out their free trial to decide which one you want to go for. Plus the e-gmat Scholaranium which is included in both the courses is one of the best verbal practice tools in the market. You can easily track your progress in that you can identify your strengths and analyze and improve on your weak areas.

You can also try out the MGMAT guides they are phenomenal and cover the entire syllabus really well. Just by going through these guides and solving the OG will help you reach 600+.I must add that if you are particularly looking to discover and improve on your weak areas in Quant; a subscription to GMATCLUB tests is the best way to do that. They are indeed phenomenal and will not only pinpoint your weak areas but also help you improve on them.

Further taking multiple mocks might help. Apart from the GMATPREP, Manhattan GMAT tests and Veritas Prep Tests in my experience have good verbal and Quant section and will certainly help you point out and improve your weak areas.

Further another advantage of taking many mocks is to build up your stamina. Apart from the GMATPREP tests, taking practise tests of any major GMATPREP company ought to do that.

I would also encourage you to purchase GMATPREP QP 1 for some great additional practice. Here is a link that will help you with your decision.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/best-gmat-ve ... ml?fl=menu

Lastly, you can check out a very interesting article by Mike McGarry from Magoosh detailing a 3 month study plan

https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/3-month-g ... -students/. You will find it very helpful as it gives out a study plan as per your needs.

Hope this helps. All the best.
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Re: 440 on GMAC Practice 1 - strategy for 720 in four months?!  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jan 2019, 18:18
1
Hi Y2A,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. So, you have successfully completed the first step: taking a diagnostic to get a baseline score. Since you are 280 points from your score goal, it’s clear that you have some major work to do to improve to a 720. Your next step is to lay out a sound and thorough study plan. Ideally, you want to follow a linear study plan that allows you to start with the foundations and move to more advanced topics. By following a structured and methodical approach, you can ensure that you master each topic individually as you progress through GMAT quant and verbal.

For example, let’s say you are learning about Number Properties. First, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills.

Follow a similar routine for verbal. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual Critical Reasoning topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each Critical Reasoning question type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and instead focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and thereby comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage. Furthermore, as you practice, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect Reading Comprehension answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. Keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to analyze such passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction is a bit of a different animal compared to Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. There are three aspects to getting correct answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions: what you know, such as grammar rules, what you see, such as violations of grammar rules and the logic of sentence structure, and what you do, such as carefully considering each answer choice in the context of the non-underlined portion of the sentence. To drive up your Sentence Correction score, it is likely that you will have to work on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending under two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see in order to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and those reasons are not that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answer were always the one that sounded right, then most people most of the time would get Sentence Correction questions correct, without really knowing why the wrong answers were wrong and the correct answers were correct. So, you have to go beyond choosing what "sounds right" and learn to clearly see the logical reasons why one choice is better than all of the others.

As for the third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct, what you do, the main thing you have to do is be very careful. You have to make sure that you are truly considering the structures of sentences and the meanings conveyed rather than allowing yourself to be tricked into choosing trap answers that sound right but don't convey meanings that make sense. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice repeatedly until you start to see the differences between the choices that make all choices wrong except for one. Often, when you first look at the choices, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. It may take time for you to see what you have to see. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to be determined to see the differences and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did that resulted in your arriving at that answer and what you could do differently in order to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could have done differently to extend your streak.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regimens, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your skills improve, you will then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

In order to follow the path described above, you may consider using an online self-study course, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses.

You also may find it helpful to read this article about
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions.

Good luck!
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Re: 440 on GMAC Practice 1 - strategy for 720 in four months?!  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jan 2019, 21:00
Hi,

When you have 4 months for GMAT preparation then you should know what is the Right Material for GMAT. GMATclub has a number of posts with so much material available that you won't be able to understand which one to go with.
To find the correct Mock Tests, Books required, Planning, and Videos on Verbal; please check my posts below.

These will definitely save you a lot of Time & Trouble.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/improve-scor ... l#p2204721

https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-strateg ... l#p2205292

Additionally, you can go through the links mentioned in my signature right below this post.

Prepare Well, Have Patience.!
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GOOD LUCK!

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Re: 440 on GMAC Practice 1 - strategy for 720 in four months?!  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2019, 07:47
Y2A wrote:
Hi all, I recently took my first full practice exam on the official GMAC site and scored a 440 (Q26, V25). It was more or less a cold score since I had done very little preparation---only took a trial MGMAT class weeks ago---and it didn't help that I had to guess a few questions since I couldn't see the graphs for the geometry questions (browser issue? idk). I plan to take the actual test around mid to late May of this year, which allows me ~4 months to prep. My goals are to score 720+ to have a chance at a top 15 MBA program, particularly NYU and Columbia.

In addition to taking a trial MGMAT class weeks ago, I also attended a trial Veritas class hosted by Ravi Sreerama, but this was after I took the practice exam. I originally intended to pay and continue the course, but realized that after taking the practice exam, I desperately need to brush up on my fundamentals in order to fully take advantage of any live GMAT course.

Based on my score distribution, I'm unfortunately weak on both ends. I do plan on eventually attending the full course by Ravi, the next one starting on March 11th, so I want to get the fundamentals nailed down by the time I start his class. I plan to allocate 2-3 hours per weekday and ~6 hrs per day on the weekend for studying, leading up to my exam date.

With that being said, what do you guys recommend, materials and strategy wise? Thanks in advance!


You should better focus on a solid study plan with sound strategy. Here is a study plan for you

Best Books

For Concept Learning

Manhattan Quant Guides
Manhattan Verbal Guides
For CR: The Powerscore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible
For RC: Aristotle RC Grail

For Practice

The Official Guide for GMAT 2015-19
The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review 2015-19
The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2015-19

Best Courses (Budget)

1. e-GMAT
2. Empower GMAT
3. Math Revolution (Only Math)

You can start with Quant or Verbal which suits you. If you have started with Quant then Start with the Arithmetic but if started with verbal then start first with Sentence correction. One month for learning Quant concepts and one month for practicing question and same practice for Verbal. During you Practicing question don't forget to make an error log to track your weak areas after practice. Once you know your weak areas revise your Concepts related to those areas and do some more Practice. 6-8 CATs are enough for practice the real tests. Make your Stamina for sitting 3 hours in the test and don't study more than 2 hours in one sit and 4 hours per day

Top CATs for Practice

1. Official GMAC CATs
2. Manhattan CATs
3. Kaplan CATs
4. GMAT Club Quant CATs

Other Helpful Posts

Best GMAT Courses

https://gmatclub.com/forum/best-gmat-co ... ml?fl=menu

GMAT Study Plan

https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-study-p ... ml?fl=menu

https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-self-pr ... tml?f=menu

Best Books

Quant

https://gmatclub.com/forum/best-gmat-ma ... ml?fl=menu

Verbal

https://gmatclub.com/forum/best-gmat-ve ... ml?fl=menu

All GMAT CATs

https://gmatclub.com/forum/all-gmat-pra ... ml?fl=menu

GMAT Timing Strategies

https://gmatclub.com/forum/timing-strat ... ml?fl=menu

Good Luck
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Re: 440 on GMAC Practice 1 - strategy for 720 in four months?!   [#permalink] 22 Jan 2019, 07:47
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