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440... to 380??? Help :(

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Joined: 11 Aug 2011
Posts: 6
440... to 380??? Help :( [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2011, 09:06
I am trying to do my best to not be discouraged. I would really like some advice on how to alter my study techniques.

I am 22 and just graduated with a BSBA (Finance) this month. Yet I have been studying for the GMAT for the past two months. I only need a score over 500, which to some people may seem easy, but for some reason I just can't get there.

Initially I took a 24 hour, 4 week, GMAT prep class offered at my university. My score on the first prep test was a 320... Two weeks into the class I scored a 440 on the second prep test (exciting). I continued to study for the next two weeks, then took my first GMAT, and got a 440. While this was a bit upsetting, I still had time to revise my study plan and another month to study (before applications were due).

So I went through my weaknesses on the test. I used the OG guide, Manhattan GMAT (all 8) yet I didn't finish the Word Translations because I ran out of time. I studied for a month, everyday (at least 4 hours), and at least 10-12 hours on each weekend. The GMAT was my life. I took at Kaplan CAT (CD) and got a 460, a few days before my next GMAT exam.

Then today, I took my second GMAT. Scored a 380... I just don't understand what I am doing wrong? I seem to have lost major confidence in my strategies. Even though I will not make it into grad school for the upcoming semester, I am not going to let this score get me down, and I will continue until I finally do reach the 500 threshold.

I guess I am just looking for any sort of advice to help me study for the test time I take the test. I need to devise a study plan, but I feel that I have exhausted most of my materials, and at this point, everything is just blurring together and confusing me...

(please excuse any grammar or spelling, my mind is exhausted)
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Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Strategy
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Re: 440... to 380??? Help :( [#permalink]

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New post 07 Oct 2011, 14:55
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@klankford sorry to hear your score went down a bit. you need to write down your weaknesses. Obviously not studying is not your weakness. you are studying hard infact harder than most people usually do. So it is an indication that your technique is not helping you much.

If I were you I would first try to identify my weaknesses and then attack them one thing at a time. I would also make sure that I am using Manhattan GMAT strategy guides. Every MGMAT strategy guide is a GMAT bible. I was weak in word translations and number properties so i purchased those books and read them carefully. I did all the exercises at the end of each chapter. I suggest you do the same. There is no better feeling than walking into the exam centre with confidence. These exercises do exactly that. They increase your confidence in the topics that you think are most weak at.

Did you answer all questions? I would also stress that the first few questions are very important (a lot of people tend to disagree but hear me out) because the first question usually will be in the range of 500-600 so if you answer that question correctly the CAT would give a 700-800 question but if you got the 500-600 question wrong then it would give you a 400-500 and keeps correcting itself based on your responses. So it would be difficult for you to get to a higher range if you get the first questions wrong. So I would have you spend a little bit more time answering first 10 questions. Note only a bit more time. If 2 mins is what you usually spend to answer a quant question then plan on spending between 2.5 to 2.75 mins for the first few questions but get them right. Trust me you wont regret it.

How ably are you answering OG questions? Are you writing down tips and remembering them? What is your plan to attack Data Sufficiency questions? How did you score in the practise tests? I dont mean to sound patronizing but there is no point in taking as many practise tests if you are not evaluating your strengths and weaknesses.

Also I would concentrate more on quant than on verbal in your case because all you are looking for is a 500 and in the time you have quant is what you could exponentially improve. Hope this helps. Answer my questions above and I may be able to help you better.

Joined: 11 Aug 2011
Posts: 6
Re: 440... to 380??? Help :( [#permalink]

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New post 12 Oct 2011, 18:10
Thank you for your response! I have started to target my weaknesses that I am aware of with the MGMAT number properties (for the second time) and word translations. I know that I need to adopt a new technique of studying, because obviously with the amount of time that I have put in, I am not retaining the information. Any suggestions? Would you suggest taking as many CATs as possible, then evaluating? My problem with taking CATs is that it is hard for me to point out what the question’s topic is, as crazy as it sounds. I guess that this is because there are multiple techniques and steps in each question.

I am interested in why you think I should concentrate solely on Quant. I understand your reasoning, and I really like the idea, but, with all of my practice tests and official scores, I have scored lower on verbal and quant has remained about the same. I guess that I am nervous to only study one section. But if you think that that could significantly help improve my score I will definitely give it a try. I’m not shooting for a 700+, only a 500. Here are my scores: Practice test 1: 320 Practice test 2: 440 (Q30 V21)
First Official GMAT (8/8/11): 440 (Q29 V20) Practice test 1 (took again): 490 (Q32 V25)
Kaplan CAT: 460 (Q31 V21)
Second Official GMAT (10/6/11): 380 (Q27 V15)

On the actual GMAT exams, I was running out of time in both quant and verbal, with around 10 questions left with 9-10 minutes. I still answered all the questions, guessing on most. My GMAT professor also advised the technique you described; taking longer on the first 10 questions or so, and I do agree that this is a crucial strategy. As far as timing goes, I never timed myself on quant when I was doing the OG questions. Partly because it was taking me very long to figure out the questions, and retain the information after I learned it.

The OG questions are tough for me, I feel like I understand the information in the MGMAT books after completing the exercises, but when I go to practice in OG questions I get completely lost. I end up having to teach myself each individual question and how to solve it. Which takes a lot of time. I have written down tips and techniques as I went, but I still don’t retain the information. This could be because I am unsure that I am actually doing the problems correctly and efficiently. I have done every question in quant at least twice. I have gotten to the point to where I remember how to do a specific question, only by memorization, but when I am presented with new questions, I have no idea where to start. I have kept an error log and have gone over missed questions as many as three times, and I am still not able to remember how to solve them.

As far as Data Sufficiency questions go, I do not have a particular strategy. What would you suggest? For most of the questions on my GMAT exams I found myself picking C or E a lot. I don’t know if this this is because I am lacking knowledge or just being careless and anxious because of the time factor. I find myself picking numbers…for almost every question!! I don’t know if I would be better off sticking with the picking numbers strategy or trying to memorize properties or techniques with the short amount of time I have before my next GMAT… in three weeks.
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Re: 440... to 380??? Help :( [#permalink]

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New post 16 Oct 2011, 10:35
Even i had similar scores like your's.....Make sure you give yourself time and dont outburst......Make learning fun...MGMAT is great resource read it carefully....If needed pre phrase whatever you have learned!!!!

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Re: 440... to 380??? Help :(   [#permalink] 16 Oct 2011, 10:35
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440... to 380??? Help :(

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