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520 to +700...NEED HELP!!

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Location: United States
Schools: Wharton Exec '22
GMAT 1: 520 Q28 V34
GMAT 2: 680 Q44 V39
GMAT 3: 710 Q47 V40
GPA: 3.7
520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 01 Apr 2017, 10:53
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Hello,

This is my first time posting to the forum as I recently took my second full-length MGMAT CAT and was disappointed with the results. I’ve read some inspiring stories on this forum about individuals similar to myself (math isn’t a strong suit and they had a similar diagnostic score/split) who ended up with a 700+ score and I am hopeful to mimic their success.

A little background on me might be helpful:

- I’m ~7 years removed from undergrad.
- My goal is to achieve a 700+ score (w/ min Q of 45-47) to maximize my odds of gaining admittance to a top EMBA program (Wharton, Booth, Kellogg). I want to stay with my current employer post-MBA.
- I wouldn't say math is my strong suit but I managed a 3.7 GPA as an Economics student in undergrad and am a CFA Charterholder. In addition, I work in finance so am generally dealing with numbers each day at work.
- I started studying full-time (1-2 hrs. / weekday and 4-6 hours each weekend day) about 4 months ago (Dec. of ’16). Given my Q was far weaker than my V score on the initial CAT I’ve been focused on improving Q exclusively. I started with Foundations of Math (~1 month) and then worked my way through all of the Manhattan Q Strategy Books. After completing the books I took only the Q section of a MGMAT CAT and saw nice improvement but still not where I needed to be.
- I then purchased Magoosh (about 5 weeks ago) at the suggestion of a friend and found that I picked up additional tricks/tips that I didn’t get from the Manhattan Q strategy books. I’m currently about 1 month into Magoosh’s 3 month Q focused study plan.
- Today I took my second full length MGMAT CAT and am feeling defeated as my quant raw score dropped by 3 points from the prior Q only exam.

Mock Exams To Date:

MGMAT CAT #1: 520 (28Q / 34V)
MGMAT CAT #2: Quant section only (39Q)
MGMAT CAT #3: 600 (36Q / 36V)…ran out of time on last 5 Q questions.

In short, I’m hoping for specific guidance on how to proceed from here. In total, I’ve been studying for about 4 months (+230 hours) and am prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve the score I need but I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible…

Thank you!!

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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 01 Apr 2017, 11:50
Hi Layman24,

To start, taking an isolated Quant section (without completing the FULL CAT - including the Essay and IR sections) is NOT a realistic way to measure your skills. As such, assuming that you took the other two CATs in full (and in a realistic fashion), it's more appropriate to compare the 600 to the 520; and those scores show progress/improvement on your part.

The Quant section of the GMAT is NOT a 'math test' - it's a 'critical thinking test' that involves lots of little calculations, so you don't need any type of advanced math background to perform at a high level in that section of the GMAT - but you do need to be strategic about how you deal with that section and you need to limit the number of silly/little mistakes that you make. If you've truly been studying consistently for 4 months, then there might be some inefficiencies in how you've been studying.

1) When are you planning to apply to these EMBA Programs?

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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 02 Apr 2017, 01:53
Layman24 wrote:
Hello,

This is my first time posting to the forum as I recently took my second full-length MGMAT CAT and was disappointed with the results. I’ve read some inspiring stories on this forum about individuals similar to myself (math isn’t a strong suit and they had a similar diagnostic score/split) who ended up with a 700+ score and I am hopeful to mimic their success.

A little background on me might be helpful:

- I’m ~7 years removed from undergrad.
- My goal is to achieve a 700+ score (w/ min Q of 45-47) to maximize my odds of gaining admittance to a top EMBA program (Wharton, Booth, Kellogg). I want to stay with my current employer post-MBA.
- I wouldn't say math is my strong suit but I managed a 3.7 GPA as an Economics student in undergrad and am a CFA Charterholder. In addition, I work in finance so am generally dealing with numbers each day at work.
- I started studying full-time (1-2 hrs. / weekday and 4-6 hours each weekend day) about 4 months ago (Dec. of ’16). Given my Q was far weaker than my V score on the initial CAT I’ve been focused on improving Q exclusively. I started with Foundations of Math (~1 month) and then worked my way through all of the Manhattan Q Strategy Books. After completing the books I took only the Q section of a MGMAT CAT and saw nice improvement but still not where I needed to be.
- I then purchased Magoosh (about 5 weeks ago) at the suggestion of a friend and found that I picked up additional tricks/tips that I didn’t get from the Manhattan Q strategy books. I’m currently about 1 month into Magoosh’s 3 month Q focused study plan.
- Today I took my second full length MGMAT CAT and am feeling defeated as my quant raw score dropped by 3 points from the prior Q only exam.

Mock Exams To Date:

MGMAT CAT #1: 520 (28Q / 34V)
MGMAT CAT #2: Quant section only (39Q)
MGMAT CAT #3: 600 (36Q / 36V)…ran out of time on last 5 Q questions.

In short, I’m hoping for specific guidance on how to proceed from here. In total, I’ve been studying for about 4 months (+230 hours) and am prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve the score I need but I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible…

Thank you!!


I think you need to take the full CAT altogether to gauge your score. I did the same mistake in my preparation. I only did Q and V for practice but not the full AWA and IR before. When I took the actual test I was shocked to learn my score is 30-40 points lower than my practice CATs. My reasoning is that you need to practice for test taking stamina. By the end of the Verbal section I felt very tired and, judging from my ESR, did some silly mistakes that I wouldnt have done if I tested the verbal section alone.
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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 02 Apr 2017, 08:39
Abulsirr,

Thanks for the reply. I think you’re right about taking more full length tests. I believe it would help me to build endurance as well as an internal clock on quant so I don’t spend inordinate amounts of time on single questions (I spent +16 minutes on 4 different questions and only got 2/4 correct). After reviewing my CAT in greater detail today I realized the following:

Q:
- Timing issues stemming from my lack of mastery of the fundamentals and ability to gauge whether or not I can answer the question within 2 minutes were the primary culprits. For most of the Q section my %tile score was ranging between 50% - 60%. It wasn't until about 2/3 of the way through that I realized timing was going to be an issue so I panicked and started to rush through the remaining questions (making many silly mistakes along the way). Despite my efforts to expedite, I still didn't have time to answer the remaining 3-5 questions. In short, had I been able to answer low-mid level questions more quickly and recognize and skip the hardest questions, I think I could score in the 45 range.

Your Q scores appear to be pretty strong. Have you always been strong in this area or was it something you worked on? If the latter, do you have any suggestions on the best way to address the issues I listed above?

V:
While 36 is a good starting point, I think I can get this up to +40 with some studying. My clear strength is CR, followed by RC. The obvious outlier is SC:
CR: 79% correct
RC: 75% correct
SC: 40% correct
Do you have any thoughts on the best way to improve SC? I have the MGMAT SC Strategy Guide and plan to review as I continue my Q studying but happy to consider an alternative route as well.

Thanks for the thoughts!

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520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 03 Apr 2017, 02:30
Layman24 wrote:
Abulsirr,

Thanks for the reply. I think you’re right about taking more full length tests. I believe it would help me to build endurance as well as an internal clock on quant so I don’t spend inordinate amounts of time on single questions (I spent +16 minutes on 4 different questions and only got 2/4 correct). After reviewing my CAT in greater detail today I realized the following:

Q:
- Timing issues stemming from my lack of mastery of the fundamentals and ability to gauge whether or not I can answer the question within 2 minutes were the primary culprits. For most of the Q section my %tile score was ranging between 50% - 60%. It wasn't until about 2/3 of the way through that I realized timing was going to be an issue so I panicked and started to rush through the remaining questions (making many silly mistakes along the way). Despite my efforts to expedite, I still didn't have time to answer the remaining 3-5 questions. In short, had I been able to answer low-mid level questions more quickly and recognize and skip the hardest questions, I think I could score in the 45 range.

Your Q scores appear to be pretty strong. Have you always been strong in this area or was it something you worked on? If the latter, do you have any suggestions on the best way to address the issues I listed above?

V:
While 36 is a good starting point, I think I can get this up to +40 with some studying. My clear strength is CR, followed by RC. The obvious outlier is SC:
CR: 79% correct
RC: 75% correct
SC: 40% correct
Do you have any thoughts on the best way to improve SC? I have the MGMAT SC Strategy Guide and plan to review as I continue my Q studying but happy to consider an alternative route as well.

Thanks for the thoughts!


Hi again. No worries I am always happy to help.

To start off, it's good that you know that not answering all the questions in time will punish you severly. Your strategy should then become minimizing the number of questions you need to skip and reducing the average time taken to answer PS and DS questions. I remember that I had to skip a couple of questions on both occasions to save time.

You need to do this if:
1. You take more than 2.5 m and you cannot figure how to solve it
2. You are not confident with a particular topic and would utilize the time better on another question

I would suggest you start with the concepts you are most familiar with. Geometry, number properties, integers, etc? You still need to practice those to reduce the average time taken to solve these. Once you are confident with the concepts that you consider your strengths you can then move on to your weaker areas and improve on those.

Personally, I enjoy numbers and practice mental maths whenever I can at work (I am an engineer). Having said that, I do remember that I struggled with DS questions at the very beginning of my GMAT prep because it took me while to grasp the concept especially yes/no answers. (YES/NO answers. Sufficient even when the answer is a definite NO.) So I focused on DS more than PS because I practiced a lot of PS at high-school and at university level.

I would also recommend that you watch youtube videos or answer explanations of tough gmat questions. Then time yourself solving it on your own. Keep following the forum here for the little tips and tricks that you can only pick up from practice. Learn to factorize numbers quickly.

Memorize the following:
1. Square roots of 2, 3 and 5
2. Square numbers of 1-20
3. Famous triangles and geometry concepts (famous triangles such 3-4-5 and 5-12-13)

For the verbal I think you are doing a terrific job. Fortunately for you, the SC is the easiest part of the verbal to improve. Work on the SC and concentrate on math and you'll do great!

Don't hesitate to contact me if you need more advice. Best of luck to you :)
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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 13 Apr 2017, 10:16
i think you should take GMAT prep exam 1 because GMAT prep exams are the best indicator of your ability.

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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 13 Apr 2017, 11:53
You are struggling with quant, i m with verbal, u r with SC; i am with CR and RC. .. Anyway, Manhattan SC guide is the best one for sentence correction.
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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 18 Apr 2017, 08:02
I haven't gotten higher than 630 on Manhattan CATs, but scored 680 and 700 on real exam.


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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 18 Apr 2017, 08:48
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You should not take MGMAT CAT as your first CAT to estimate your score since Quant questions in MGMAT CAT are really harder than the actual one. You should take GMATPrep for better estimation.

I disagree with EMPOWERgmatRichC with the point that GMAT Quant section is not a 'math test' but a 'critical thinking test'. You could not solve any quant question without basic knowledge of mathematics. Also, if you master advanced math, you could absolutely solve any quant questions in GMAT.

There is no trick in solving Math, but a deep knowledge about Math and apply it into solving Math. Once you understand the concept, you have no problem with that. It's easy as you are dealing with finance problems.

If you are good at numbers and dealing with them, you should have advantage of learning Quant section. This means that the problem that your quant score is low comes first from MGMAT since MGMAT quant questions are much harder than the real one. Also the problem comes next from your strategy. It's probably that you have been in professional environment for such a long time without practicing math, so it could cost you more time to take then.

You could use resources on GmatClub forum for practice since it has a lot of high quality quant questions. Follow Bunuel for daily practice since he is an expert in Quant.

I've seen a lot of people found difficult to improve verbal score, not quant score. Hence, your verbal score is quite high as your advantage. I think you could easily score Q45+ and get 700+ soon.
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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 18 Apr 2017, 08:52
Adamarusya wrote:
I haven't gotten higher than 630 on Manhattan CATs, but scored 680 and 700 on real exam.


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Have you taken the GmatPrep exams? What were your scores?
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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 18 Apr 2017, 09:00
Vanmotan wrote:
Adamarusya wrote:
I haven't gotten higher than 630 on Manhattan CATs, but scored 680 and 700 on real exam.


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Have you taken the GmatPrep exams? What were your scores?


I've taken two GMATprep tests - 600 and 630. I had only a couple of weeks to prep, so I spent most of my time watching Manhattan lectures (verbal was excellent) and practicing Hard GMAT OG questions. I wasn't too disappointed on seeing low practice tests scores. I spent good amount of time going over the results and analyzing each problem. Most importantly analyzing why I got it wrong and how I can avoid this happening in the future.

Overall, the real test felt easier (especially the verbal part). I am a not native speaker, so I was very happy to get 89% on verbal.

Quant also felt easier on the real test (maybe because I was focusing on practicing hard questions for the most part).


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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 18 Apr 2017, 09:15
Adamarusya wrote:
Vanmotan wrote:
Adamarusya wrote:
I haven't gotten higher than 630 on Manhattan CATs, but scored 680 and 700 on real exam.


Sent from my iPhone using GMAT Club Forum


Have you taken the GmatPrep exams? What were your scores?


I've taken two GMATprep tests - 600 and 630. I had only a couple of weeks to prep, so I spent most of my time watching Manhattan lectures (verbal was excellent) and practicing Hard GMAT OG questions. I wasn't too disappointed on seeing low practice tests scores. I spent good amount of time going over the results and analyzing each problem. Most importantly analyzing why I got it wrong and how I can avoid this happening in the future.

Overall, the real test felt easier (especially the verbal part). I am a not native speaker, so I was very happy to get 89% on verbal.

Quant also felt easier on the real test (maybe because I was focusing on practicing hard questions for the most part).


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Did you try Verbal/Quant OG Reviews or OG only? Which OG 16/17?
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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 18 Apr 2017, 09:24
Vanmotan wrote:
Adamarusya wrote:
Vanmotan wrote:
[quote="Adamarusya"]I haven't gotten higher than 630 on Manhattan CATs, but scored 680 and 700 on real exam.


Sent from my iPhone using GMAT Club Forum


Have you taken the GmatPrep exams? What were your scores?


I've taken two GMATprep tests - 600 and 630. I had only a couple of weeks to prep, so I spent most of my time watching Manhattan lectures (verbal was excellent) and practicing Hard GMAT OG questions. I wasn't too disappointed on seeing low practice tests scores. I spent good amount of time going over the results and analyzing each problem. Most importantly analyzing why I got it wrong and how I can avoid this happening in the future.

Overall, the real test felt easier (especially the verbal part). I am a not native speaker, so I was very happy to get 89% on verbal.

Quant also felt easier on the real test (maybe because I was focusing on practicing hard questions for the most part).


Sent from my iPhone using GMAT Club Forum mobile app


Did you try Verbal/Quant OG Reviews or OG only? Which OG 16/17?[/quote]

I've originally purchased them (2017), but had no time to use them. So I did just Manhattan lectures and the suggested homework for hard questions (which point to OG).

I started studying verbal in March and took first exam March 18th (right before the app deadline).

I'd say that most important piece of practicing is not how many you get right, but ensuring you FULLY understand why you got something wrong. And learn the common tricks.


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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 29 May 2017, 11:17
I thought I'd give a quick update since my last post. Recall, my last CAT (MGMAT CAT #3) left me feeling defeated as I had completed 2 popular (and lengthy) prep courses and I wasn’t generating acceptable results (particularly in Quant). After doing some additional research, I subscribed to the Target Test Prep platform about 1.5-2 months ago. I’m currently on module 15 of the course (or about 50% of the way through) and I’m already sensing great things to come (as evidenced by my most recent CAT – MGMAT #4). While demanding, the course has helped me to build terrific muscle memory around the topics I’ve covered thus far. I’m hopeful that the second half of the course goes as well as the first and I can report an even higher mock exam in the months to come.

Mock Exams To Date (updated):
MGMAT CAT #1: 520 (28Q / 34V)
MGMAT CAT #2: Quant section only (39Q)
MGMAT CAT #3: 600 (36Q / 36V)…ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions.
MGMAT CAT #4: 650 (42Q / 37V)

Thanks for the support/tips everyone!

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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jul 2017, 07:20
Hi Everyone!

I have a quick update and question…

Update:

I’m 85% of the way through Target Test Prep’s material and took another mock exam this past weekend. As you can see below, my Q score increased again (Woo!). Unfortunately, it only increased by 2 points, and my V score declined by 2 points. I’m not too concerned with the fact that my 650 score didn’t increase…yet, which brings me to my question.

Mock Exams To Date (updated):
MGMAT CAT #1: 520 (28Q / 34V)
MGMAT CAT #2: Quant section only (39Q)
MGMAT CAT #3: 600 (36Q / 36V)…ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions.
MGMAT CAT #4: 650 (42Q / 37V)
MGMAT CAT #5: 650 (44Q / 35V)


Question:

Due to some major life events on the horizon I’m forced to take the GMAT exam in late August (fortunately, I can pick it back up in late October if my score is less than 700). So, with that in mind, how would you guys recommend I use these last ~6 weeks of preparation time? I should be done with Target Test Prep materials in ~2 weeks, so that leaves another ~4 weeks of capacity for general study / mock exams. My plan is as follows:

Week 6 – TTP Materials
Week 5 – Finish TTP Materials
Week 4 – Mock 1 / General Q review and SC practice (SC is by far weakest V section)
Week 3 – Mock 2 / General Q review and SC practice
Week 2 – Mock 3 / General Q review and SC practice
Week 1 – Mock 4 / General Q review and SC practice
Week 0 – Test Day!!

Does this sound like a formula for success (success = > 700)?

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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2017, 11:39
Hello again,
I thought I’d give another brief update as I near ~3 weeks until my actual exam. I took another Manhattan CAT this weekend and generated interesting results:
Mock Exams To Date (updated):
MGMAT CAT #1: 520 (28Q / 34V)
MGMAT CAT #2: Quant section only (39Q)
MGMAT CAT #3: 600 (36Q / 36V)…ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions.
MGMAT CAT #4: 650 (42Q / 37V)
MGMAT CAT #5: 650 (44Q / 35V)
MGMAT CAT #6: 700 (40Q / 45V) - ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions

While I’m absolutely thrilled that I scored a 700, the breakout between Q & V has me a bit confused. My big takeaways are as follows:

Q:
I feel I’ve mastered most all of the content, but I still haven’t mastered timing. I need to improve on knowing when to skip questions to save time for other questions I know I can answer quickly and correctly. This plagued my most recent quant score as I didn’t have adequate time to complete the final 6 questions. I’m hopeful that I’ll improve this skill set through targeted practice over the coming weeks. Any suggestions here?

V:
After a good review of Manhattan’s SC guide, I think I’m finally starting to see SC questions more holistically (87% correct on this exam compared to ~50% in prior exams!). That being said, what do you guys think about the jump? How does Manhattan’s V compare to the actual GMAT? My next 3 mocks over the coming 3 weeks will be from mba.com (GMATPrep), so it’ll be interesting to compare.

My plan:
Week 3 - Mock 7 (GMATPrep) – Quant timing and continued SC practice
Week 2 - Mock 8 (GMATPrep) – Quant timing and continued SC practice
Week 1 - Mock 9 (GMATPrep) – Quant timing and continued SC practice
Week 0 - Test Day!!

Thanks for the tips/advice!

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GMAT 1: 520 Q28 V34
GMAT 2: 680 Q44 V39
GMAT 3: 710 Q47 V40
GPA: 3.7
Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2017, 09:00
Friends,
I took my first GMAT Prep mock today and was pleasantly surprised with the results. The Quant section was FAR easier than Manhattan’s Quant section. I didn’t run long on any questions and even finished with 2 minutes to spare! I’m feeling really good about my looming test day…just don’t want to lose the magic I’ve got going!

Mock Exams To Date (updated):
MGMAT CAT #1: 520 (28Q / 34V)
MGMAT CAT #2: Quant section only (39Q)
MGMAT CAT #3: 600 (36Q / 36V)…ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions.
MGMAT CAT #4: 650 (42Q / 37V)
MGMAT CAT #5: 650 (44Q / 35V)
MGMAT CAT #6: 700 (40Q / 45V) - ran out of time on last 5-6 Q questions
GMAT Prep #7: 760 (49Q / 44V)

My plan:
Week 2 - Mock 8 (GMATPrep) - Quant timing and continued SC practice
Week 1 - Mock 9 (GMATPrep) - Quant timing and continued SC practice
Week 0 - Test Day!!

Does anyone have tips on how to avoid burn-out but also maintain elevated performance?

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GRE 1: 339 Q170 V169
Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2017, 09:56
Layman24 wrote:
I took my first GMAT Prep mock today and was pleasantly surprised with the results. The Quant section was FAR easier than Manhattan’s Quant section. I didn’t run long on any questions and even finished with 2 minutes to spare! I’m feeling really good about my looming test day…just don’t want to lose the magic I’ve got going!

Does anyone have tips on how to avoid burn-out but also maintain elevated performance?
At a minimum, you'd want to ensure that you get plenty of rest the week before the exam. 760 on a GMATPrep is excellent (if all the questions were "new"), so it's going to be about just doing more of what you're already doing.
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Location: United States
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GMAT 1: 520 Q28 V34
GMAT 2: 680 Q44 V39
GMAT 3: 710 Q47 V40
GPA: 3.7
Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!! [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2017, 10:30
Thanks for the input, AjiteshArun. I plan to get plenty of rest and to not over-do the studying!

The GMAT Prep questions were indeed 'new' to me. I noticed that the degree of calculations on the GMAT Prep exam were far less than those on the MGMAT CATs, and less time spent plugging and chugging allowed me to spend some of the extra time I generated on the final 5-7 questions of the GMAT Prep exam. Surprisingly, I was still able to achieve a Q49 despite getting 13 questions wrong.

In any event, given that my initial goal was 700+ and this most recent score blows that out of the water, I decided to move my test date to this week (vs. 2 weeks from now), so I should have results to report back in short order. I also scheduled a second exam 17 days after this upcoming exam to both relieve the pressure to perform this time around as well as give me an option to retake if my results are below 720.

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Re: 520 to +700...NEED HELP!!   [#permalink] 06 Aug 2017, 10:30
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