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540 only on the test day.

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Joined: 02 May 2018
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540 only on the test day. [#permalink]

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New post 02 May 2018, 07:45
Hello

As you can see, I have only taken 540 score on GMAT real exam today and I am very disappointed. I was aiming to get at least 620, as this was the score that the business school asked for at least.

Some background information. I have never taken this exam before and it's more than 15 years ago I have graduated from high school. I have taken my first mock exam in Feb - it was a free Kaplan CAT - and I have scored 530 then without any preparation. I have signed up for a local GMAT course, which I did not find helpful at all, as the teacher did not really tackle each of our weaknesses, but just gave us photo copies of problems, timed us on solving them and telling us if our answers were correct or not. Sometimes she would explain the solution for them, but majority of times no.

Moving on, a month ago I have started going in more detail for the exam. So I have done all the Quantitative books from Manhattan (without the last 2 chapters from Number Properties: Extra divisibility and primes and Extra Combinatorics & Probability). After finishing these, I have started doing problems from the Official Quantitative Guide book (2018): from 1 to 165 (PS questions) and from 177 to 240 (DS questions). In the middle of doing these I have done the full Kaplan GMAT Math Workbook (ninth edition) - I have started first with the basics, then moved on to the Intermediary level and finally to Advanced. In the last couple of days I have done a few problems from this forum (600 level), not more than 20 I think... And did some flash cards from Magoosh: completed Algebra, Fractions, Ratios and Percents, Number Properties 1 and did half of Geometry. And yesterday I have taken one of the GMAT Prep Mock Exam, where I scored 560: V28; Q39; IR 2. Today at the real exam I have scored less: 540: V30; Q33; IR 3.

I am not sure which exact questions I have incorrectly answered to, but my strategy was a bit different than the one from yesterday (at least on quant). So yesterday, I was trying to solve each problem within 2-3 minutes. If it took me more than that, I would just pick an answer randomly and move on. In the end, I had 11 questions incorrect out of the 31 for quantitative (success rate: 60%). In Feb, on the Kaplan exam (quantitative part), I had 21 questions incorrect from 37 (success rate: 38%). On both of these mock exams, I did not pay too much attention to the first 10 problems and I had like 5 of them incorrect. Today, on the real exam, I tried to put more focus on these first 10 questions, spent more time on them (I think) and then on the last questions I have just picked randomly. I do not know which of these questions I have failed on, but I do believe that I have mostly failed the first ones as well.

Just as a side note, from all topics covered, Probability, Statistics and Combinatorics is like rocket science to me. No matter how much time I put on these, I can hardly ever do a question by myself completely. In general, I struggle with understanding of long text problems and translating these into mathematical language. And I do sometimes really stupid careless mistakes, I solve the problem and I look at the answers and none of them fit mine. I am not very fast either, as my main focus in this past month was to learn how to solve them, not to be fast (bad idea I know, but I needed to start from somewhere).

On Verbal I did not prepare much at all - I have just done the Sentence Correction book from Manhattan a week ago (probably forgot everything by today) and half of the Critical Reasoning book a month ago (most surely I have forgotten everything from it). Apart from this and the mock exam from yesterday, I did not prepare at all on Verbal. I am not a native English speaker, but I knew my main weakness was math, so I preferred to focus on this instead. And after all of this study (4 weeks full time - around 8 hours per day study), I have only managed to increase my score by 10 points from my first Kaplan mock exam and it is very disheartening, especially as I know that back then I did not even cover the basics.

I do not even know if I can take the exam again, as the deadline for admissions passed. I have emailed the business school, to see what their view is, if they allow me to take it a 2nd time, but even if they do allow me, I am not very sure what more I can do to improve on this and what strategy to take. To start preparing more on Verbal or to go in more depth on Quant, to redo the books or to do problems from this forum archive on 600 level...? I really have no idea. What do you guys suggest I should do?
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Re: 540 only on the test day. [#permalink]

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New post 02 May 2018, 09:51
Hi Sandra11,

Many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent, guided study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so it's likely that you just have not put in enough time and effort to have scored yet. Your goal is reasonable though - but you might have to change your application plans. It's important to remember your REAL Goal: to get into your first-choice Business School - and for that you will need a competitive-enough GMAT Score and well-crafted application. You will need more time to put all of those pieces together, so you should research the next set of application Rounds and plan for one of those.

1) What School(s) are you planning to apply to?
2) What is the next application deadline for each of those Schools?
3) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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Rich
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Re: 540 only on the test day. [#permalink]

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New post 02 May 2018, 14:10
Thanks for responding Rich. I have already applied as the deadline for sending through the application was 10th of April. The only bit missing from my application was the GMAT, which they said they could wait for me until now, but I don't think they will wait for me any longer. I am really gutted. If they give me a 2nd chance, I am prepared to give 10 hours daily, for the next 3 weeks. I just need to make sure I am following the right plan on how to tackle my weaknesses.
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Re: 540 only on the test day. [#permalink]

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New post 03 May 2018, 18:38
Hi Sandra11,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your CAT Scores - along with your Official GMAT Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 550 +/- a few points). Unfortunately, raising a 540 to a 620+ will likely require at least the better-part of 2 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections.

1) Do you know if a lower score would still be 'acceptable'? What is the average GMAT Score for this specific Program?

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Re: 540 only on the test day. [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2018, 09:16
650 is the average. 620 is the minimum. I can take it one more time at the end of this month, but that means I only have 3 weeks left. What do you suggest as a study plan?
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Re: 540 only on the test day. [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2018, 12:54
Hi Sandra11,

To reiterate a prior point - I think that you need far more time to hit your Score Goal than you have currently allotted for.

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix '). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your last CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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www.empowergmat.com/

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Re: 540 only on the test day. [#permalink]

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New post 08 May 2018, 05:50
Sandra11 wrote:
650 is the average. 620 is the minimum. I can take it one more time at the end of this month, but that means I only have 3 weeks left. What do you suggest as a study plan?

Joining the thread as I am just in the same situation, very actual for me
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Re: 540 only on the test day. [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2018, 13:22
Nina555 wrote:
Sandra11 wrote:
650 is the average. 620 is the minimum. I can take it one more time at the end of this month, but that means I only have 3 weeks left. What do you suggest as a study plan?

Joining the thread as I am just in the same situation, very actual for me


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Re: 540 only on the test day. [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2018, 13:48
Sandra11 wrote:
Hello

As you can see, I have only taken 540 score on GMAT real exam today and I am very disappointed. I was aiming to get at least 620, as this was the score that the business school asked for at least.

Some background information. I have never taken this exam before and it's more than 15 years ago I have graduated from high school. I have taken my first mock exam in Feb - it was a free Kaplan CAT - and I have scored 530 then without any preparation. I have signed up for a local GMAT course, which I did not find helpful at all, as the teacher did not really tackle each of our weaknesses, but just gave us photo copies of problems, timed us on solving them and telling us if our answers were correct or not. Sometimes she would explain the solution for them, but majority of times no.

Moving on, a month ago I have started going in more detail for the exam. So I have done all the Quantitative books from Manhattan (without the last 2 chapters from Number Properties: Extra divisibility and primes and Extra Combinatorics & Probability). After finishing these, I have started doing problems from the Official Quantitative Guide book (2018): from 1 to 165 (PS questions) and from 177 to 240 (DS questions). In the middle of doing these I have done the full Kaplan GMAT Math Workbook (ninth edition) - I have started first with the basics, then moved on to the Intermediary level and finally to Advanced. In the last couple of days I have done a few problems from this forum (600 level), not more than 20 I think... And did some flash cards from Magoosh: completed Algebra, Fractions, Ratios and Percents, Number Properties 1 and did half of Geometry. And yesterday I have taken one of the GMAT Prep Mock Exam, where I scored 560: V28; Q39; IR 2. Today at the real exam I have scored less: 540: V30; Q33; IR 3.

I am not sure which exact questions I have incorrectly answered to, but my strategy was a bit different than the one from yesterday (at least on quant). So yesterday, I was trying to solve each problem within 2-3 minutes. If it took me more than that, I would just pick an answer randomly and move on. In the end, I had 11 questions incorrect out of the 31 for quantitative (success rate: 60%). In Feb, on the Kaplan exam (quantitative part), I had 21 questions incorrect from 37 (success rate: 38%). On both of these mock exams, I did not pay too much attention to the first 10 problems and I had like 5 of them incorrect. Today, on the real exam, I tried to put more focus on these first 10 questions, spent more time on them (I think) and then on the last questions I have just picked randomly. I do not know which of these questions I have failed on, but I do believe that I have mostly failed the first ones as well.

Just as a side note, from all topics covered, Probability, Statistics and Combinatorics is like rocket science to me. No matter how much time I put on these, I can hardly ever do a question by myself completely. In general, I struggle with understanding of long text problems and translating these into mathematical language. And I do sometimes really stupid careless mistakes, I solve the problem and I look at the answers and none of them fit mine. I am not very fast either, as my main focus in this past month was to learn how to solve them, not to be fast (bad idea I know, but I needed to start from somewhere).

On Verbal I did not prepare much at all - I have just done the Sentence Correction book from Manhattan a week ago (probably forgot everything by today) and half of the Critical Reasoning book a month ago (most surely I have forgotten everything from it). Apart from this and the mock exam from yesterday, I did not prepare at all on Verbal. I am not a native English speaker, but I knew my main weakness was math, so I preferred to focus on this instead. And after all of this study (4 weeks full time - around 8 hours per day study), I have only managed to increase my score by 10 points from my first Kaplan mock exam and it is very disheartening, especially as I know that back then I did not even cover the basics.

I do not even know if I can take the exam again, as the deadline for admissions passed. I have emailed the business school, to see what their view is, if they allow me to take it a 2nd time, but even if they do allow me, I am not very sure what more I can do to improve on this and what strategy to take. To start preparing more on Verbal or to go in more depth on Quant, to redo the books or to do problems from this forum archive on 600 level...? I really have no idea. What do you guys suggest I should do?


Hi Sandra11,

It’s a good thing you have taken your GMAT once. You now know your weaknesses and work on them. If you are willing to study dedicatedly for 3 months, 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.

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 the latest version of OG and the verbal review 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: 540 only on the test day.   [#permalink] 11 May 2018, 13:48
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