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510 and now 550...is this not meant for me?

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Intern
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Joined: 14 Aug 2018
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GMAT 1: 510 Q37 V23
GPA: 3.32
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510 and now 550...is this not meant for me?  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jul 2019, 17:59
I've always been a silent reader of forums, but I actually need some major help now. Here's my situation:

First round of studying:
Books & materials used: EmpowerGMAT and OG books
Practice tests: (all taken at the library at various times of the day, no breaks, no pausing, no eating/drinking)
GMAT Official Prep Exam 1: 08/07/2018 440 (Q27, V24, I5)
GMAT Official Prep Exam 2: 10/20/2018 550 (Q34, V32, I4)
GMAT Official Prep Exam 3: 11/03/18 560 (Q31, V36, I4)
GMAT Official Prep Exam 4: 11/09/18 600 (Q42, V32, I2)
Length of study: studied for 2.5 months (roughly 10-15 hours a week)
General strategy: Went through Empower modules every week in stages, but didn't time myself. I definitely rushed the last two stages (4 and 5) in order to take the exam. I think my biggest issue during all practice exams and the real one was timing. I wasn't very good at keeping track of time and would spend a lot of time on questions I didn't know. I also didn't prep for IR or AWA at all.
Real GMAT: 11/20/18 510 (Q37, V23, I3, AWA5.5) (should have canceled, but had a major family emergency come up literally right after I left the test center and honestly forgot about my test score until I picked studying back up)

Now let's talk about the real issue...round 2.
Books & materials used: EmpowerGMAT and OG books and SO much gmatclub
Practice tests: (all taken at the library at various times of the day, no breaks, no pausing, no eating/drinking)
3/3/19 560 (V32, Q35) - Veritas
3/30/19 610 (V35, Q39, I8) - GMAT Official Prep 1 (no AWA)
Took a break from taking exams, but instead studied material and did timed practice sets of questions from OG, utilized the "quiz" sets from empowerGMAT interface and actually timed myself
6/29/19 640 (V34, Q45, I8) - GMAT Official Prep 2 (no AWA)
7/06/19 660 (V39, Q43, I5) - GMAT Official Prep 3 (8am to simulate test day, with AWA)
7/13/19 690 (V39, Q45, I7) - GMAT Official Prep 4 (8am to simulate test day, with AWA)
Length of study: studied 15-20 hours a week very consistently in May and June
General strategy: I retook the Empower course, but this time with a different mindset. I used the course to train myself to be able to sit and concentrate for longer periods of time. I also used the course to work on my timing issues and I thought I greatly improved. I felt really good about my practice exam scores (although, I'm started to doubt if they're inflated because I reset the official GMAT practice exams...I don't think I recalled even one question during the whole process, but it's still possible that that might have been the issue). I created mistake trackers, and I wrote down for every question why I got it right and why I got it wrong. I did daily reading comprehension passages (2-3 a day). I actually studied for IR and AWA as well. I focused on my weaker areas towards the end (sentence correction for verbal and geometry/probability/combinations/counting/sets/series for Quant)
Real GMAT 2: 7/16/19 550 (V29, Q40?? - I cancelled the score immediately and don't remember what Q was)

So that's where I'm at now. I was planning on applying R1, not anymore. I'm not sure if I should just give it a break...or if this was some sort of fluke and I should just invest in the gmatclub tests/question bank and give it my all for a month and do a retake. I thought I knew I could do it, but I'm starting to feel like I really can't. That 550 was such a shock.

Side-note: I do feel like my mental health has a huge play in my entire GMAT journey, a little personal, but I do know that's something I've been actively trying to deal with for the past year, more so in the past 2 months.

Thanks for reading! Please be nice, I already have been beating myself up about the 550 since 12pm today. I'll take any constructive criticism. I'm looking forward to reading some really good advice. :please
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510 and now 550...is this not meant for me?  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jul 2019, 21:57
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crying247 - Welcome to GMAT Club!

Well, in your first attempt, a 70 points score improvement in 2.5 months in not bad to be honest. However, you did improve 160 points from 440 to 600 over the 2 months duration. I, for one, know how awesome the EMPOWERgmat course is. I scored 720 on my first attempt ONLY because of EMPOWERgmat.

Many test takers score lower on the actual GMAT because of test anxiety. Anxiety can throw even the most prepared test takers off balance. Therefore, the GMAT experts always recommend that practice tests be taken in ideal testing conditions so that the test day experience can be perfectly replicated. That said, you should always mentally prepare yourself for any kind of surprise.
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Re: 510 and now 550...is this not meant for me?  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jul 2019, 22:18
No need to be disheartened.

Your prep sounds very intensive and you certainly have a disciplined approach. It may be the case that you prepped too intensively over a very short time period of 2.5 months.

That is a very short time period. The GMAT like other standardized aptitude tests requires significantly longer time periods to allow for proper absorption of concepts and test taking strategy. The test is a strategy game.

You will need to analyze what types of questions you are getting wrong. More importantly, you will need to manage time. I do not see why you cannot do significantly better with a longer preparation time.

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New post 17 Jul 2019, 21:16
Hi crying247

Firstly don't get discouraged by this attempt. You can find lots of stories, on gmatclub, in which people have achieved their dream score in subsequent attempts.

Your score suggests you are lacking strong basics in both Quant and Verbal.
For Quant, I would suggest you go thru Manhattan Quant guides and couple them with GMAT club tests, which will help you reach Q48+.

For verbal, I would suggest you enroll for egmat.

All the best!
Hope this helps!
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Re: 510 and now 550...is this not meant for me?  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2019, 08:07
Hello,

Sorry about your score. I previously used EmpowerGMAT and in my opinion, the course is more situated for those with solid foundation of the concepts tested on the GMAT. You have to refresh your understanding of both quant and verbal fundamentals before using Empower’s course. You can use Kahn academy to take care of the quant fundamentals, then give EmpowerGMAT course another shot. Also, you can use one of the free verbal resources available on gmatclub to take care of your verbal fundamentals.

Feel free to PM me if you need further details.

Best wishes.
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Re: 510 and now 550...is this not meant for me?  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2019, 23:02
Hi crying247,

We've had some important discussions through email over the last several days - and I sent you another email yesterday, but have not heard back from you yet. Seeking out additional perspectives on your situation makes sense though - and your post here discusses an issue that I do not think that we had previously talked about (re: your overall mental health over the last 12 months). I do not expect you to discuss those types of personal details in a public forum, but if there is additional information about your mental health over the last year (such as how you have been feeling, any additional stress/anxiety you've experienced, medications that you may have taken, etc.) then it would probably help to know what those details are. If there were additional factors that were impacting your mindset - and performances - on each of your Official GMATs, then defining as much of that as possible will likely help you to perform far better on your next Official GMAT.

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New post 19 Jul 2019, 17:35
Hi crying247,

I’m sorry to hear how things have been going with your GMAT. Since you have taken the GMAT 3 times but have yet to break 550, you clearly have numerous quant and verbal weaknesses that must be strengthened in order to improve your GMAT score. That said, I think should give yourself as much time as you need to truly improve your quant and verbal skills, and take the GMAT when you are ready to do so.

Certainly, if you’d like some advice on how to improve your GMAT quant and verbal skills, feel free to reach back out. Also, you may find it helpful to read this article about The Surprising Factor That is the Key to Hitting Your GMAT Score Goal: Grit.
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Re: 510 and now 550...is this not meant for me?   [#permalink] 19 Jul 2019, 17:35
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