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540 to 580 to .......

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New post 09 Sep 2018, 21:11
Hello fellow GMAT assassins,

I start Manhattan Gmat course tomorrow. My test is officially set for 11/17 and I have scheduled a 2nd test for 01/05. I've been tackling problems within the OG handbook and have read a few chapters in Fundamentals of Math. I plan on taking a CAT every weekend either on Saturday or Sunday. I work full time and also have a 4 year old Daughter so finding the necessary time to study can be difficult.

Mon-Fri = I average about 2-3 hours of study
Saturday = I average about 4-6 hours
Sunday = I average about 4-6 hours

09/01 (first CAT) score = 540. Quant 36, Verbal 29. I ran out of time and didn't answer the last question in the Quant section.
09/09 (2nd CAT) score = 580. Quant 37, Verbal 33. I really focused on pace and time management. I felt like I was having a better rhythm then the first CAT, but results were not that much better.


I will keep this thread going, but if anyone can teach this old dog some new tricks, that would be much appreciated. Looking forward to this journey.....
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New post 09 Sep 2018, 21:33
Hi jaswang,

Since you're relatively early-on in your studies, you don't necessarily have to take a CAT each week at this point (although you'll want to take them that frequently as you get closer to your Test Date). Beyond that, you should work through your Course as scheduled and make adjustments as your specific needs become better defined.

1) What is your goal score?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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New post 09 Sep 2018, 21:55
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi jaswang,

Since you're relatively early-on in your studies, you don't necessarily have to take a CAT each week at this point (although you'll want to take them that frequently as you get closer to your Test Date). Beyond that, you should work through your Course as scheduled and make adjustments as your specific needs become better defined.

1) What is your goal score?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich




Thanks Rich!!! I'll take that advice. To answer your questions.

1.) Of course I'd like to get as high of a score as I possibly can, but I would say with a bit of luck, studying, and optimism...I want to say 700, BUTTTT, given my constraints....I'd say 650 would be a realistic target. Definitely will not be happy with anything under 630.
2.) I plan to apply ASAP. I booked 11/17 and 01/05 for the test, so I'd like to apply for round 1 in 2019.
3.) I live in So Cal....Anderson ( UCLA ), Marshall ( USC ) would be ideal. I'm open to going to any other programs...to be honest, I haven't done a lot of research on schools and it's been awhile since I graduated undergrad UCI BA Economics. I will have to get my transcript which I know is going to be a negative on my applications. I was dealing with a lot during my undergrad years so GPA took a toll. If memory serves me correct, I am sitting at a 2.64 GPA ( I cringe as I type this ).
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New post 10 Sep 2018, 14:32
Hi jaswang,

After 2-3 weeks of working through your Course, you should plan to take a new CAT - and then report back here with your Scores.

While I am not an Admissions Expert, I suspect that you will have to take some additional steps to 'counter' your low GPA - and that might require that you push back your application plans a bit. That is an Admissions issue though, so you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile and plans. There's a Forum full of those Experts here:

http://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admission ... tants-124/

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

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Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
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www.empowergmat.com/

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New post 11 Sep 2018, 16:01
Hi Rich,

Thank you for the responding. I really appreciate it. I started my 1st class yesterday and plan to run through all of the material utilizing their strategy. I will take another CAT after my 3rd class and report back here.

I will reach out in the forum you provided....I am just totally zoned in tunnel vision on the GMAT right now as I need a high score to offset my GPA.

Stay tuned........
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New post 12 Sep 2018, 10:27
Hi jaswang,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. So, based on your study plan, you have been taking practice exams before you are ready. GMAT practice tests best serve two main purposes. The first purpose is to provide diagnostic information. In other words, by taking a practice test, you can get a sense of what types of GMAT questions you’re comfortable answering and arrive at a reasonable estimation of how you would score on the GMAT at that point in time. The second purpose is, naturally, to provide a way to practice taking the GMAT and handling its various challenges, such as time pressure and the varying difficulty of the questions presented.

People often misuse practice tests as primary learning tools. You may have seen posts that go something like the following: A person with a score goal of 740 has been preparing for six weeks, has already taken all six of the official practice tests, and is wondering why her scores have been 600, 590, 570, 610, 600, and 560. In such a case, the person likely has been using practice tests as primary learning tools, meaning that taking practice tests has been much of, or possibly most of, what she has been doing to drive up her score.

Can practice tests be valuable tools for learning and continued score improvement? Yes, of course, if they are used properly and at optimal times in your preparation. However, practice tests should not be used as primary learning vehicles, because practice tests don’t really provide the kind of practice that you need to increase your score. To improve your score, you need to learn the basics of answering various types of GMAT questions, and then practice applying what you have learned by carefully answering practice questions in order to learn to answer them correctly. When you first learn how to answer a particular type of question, answering that type of question correctly can easily take way longer than the two minutes or so per question that you are allotted when taking the GMAT (or a practice test). Two minutes per question can fly by, and if you want to finish the sections of the test on time, in many cases, regardless of whether you have figured out how to answer a question, you may have to just answer and move on. So, while taking a practice test can be a great way to work on your overall approach to taking the GMAT, taking a practice test is not a great way to practice getting right answers to various types of questions. To effectively prepare for the GMAT, you have to practice answering questions of each type without the time constraints of the test and work up to a point at which you can answer questions of each type in around two minutes. When you take multiple practice tests early in your prep, the tests simply underscore exactly what you already know: you need to learn more content and develop more skills to hit your score goal. Why spend three hours taking a practice test just to learn what you already know, wasting a valuable learning tool in the process?

Of course, you can benefit from taking one diagnostic practice test early in your preparation. Furthermore, once you’ve done substantial preparation and mastered much of the content tested on the GMAT, when you sit for practice tests, they will actually show, to some degree, lingering weak areas that require further study. I say “to some degree” because although practice tests provide a pretty good approximation of how a person would score on the GMAT at a particular point in time, because the sample size of questions on any practice test is rather small (31 quant questions and 36 verbal questions), practice tests don’t do a very good job of pinpointing specific areas of weakness.

For example, let’s assume that of the 31 quant questions on a given practice test, you encounter one Rate-Time-Distance question and get it wrong. Should you conclude that you need extensive work on Rate-Time-Distance questions? Of course not. Similarly, what if you correctly answered the Rate-Time-Distance question? Are you good to go on those questions? Maybe. But maybe not. In fact, let’s assume that you took six practice tests, saw a total of six Rate-Time-Distance questions, and correctly answered them all. Can you conclude that you’re solid on Rate-Time-Distance questions? Probably not. One thing that makes the GMAT challenging is the vast potential for variation in the questions. There are hundreds --maybe thousands-- of variations of Rate-Time-Distance questions that can appear on the test. So, correctly answering five or six (or ten) Rate-Time-Distance questions doesn’t really tell you much. You must take care not to over-infer based on practice tests alone.

To truly improve your GMAT quant and verbal skills, and before taking any further tests, you will want to follow a linear study plan that allows you to slowly build GMAT mastery of one topic prior to moving on to the next. Within each topic, begin with the foundations and progress toward more advanced concepts. For example, let’s say you begin studying Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to master the individual Critical Reasoning topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn each Critical Reasoning problem type, do focused practice so you can assess how well you understand the topic. If, for example, you incorrectly answer a Weaken the Argument question, 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 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 comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you are reading a paragraph, also 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 Reading Comprehension, 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 answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. You can perfect your reading strategy with a lot of practice, but keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be stimulating, so to better prepare yourself to tackle 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, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, your Sentence Correction performance likely has not improved because you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, to be successful in Sentence Correction, 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 in the sentence clearly refer to nouns in the sentence? 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 that 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 in a Sentence Correction question, 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. For instance, 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 Sentence Correction skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with SC questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

Although your quant is stronger, you can follow a similar process for that section. For example, if you are reviewing Number Properties, be sure that you practice 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. As you 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. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see and types that you would rather not see, and types of questions that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

So, work on accuracy and generally finding correct answers, work on specific weaker areas one by one to make them strong areas, and when you take a practice GMAT or the real thing, take all the time per question available to do your absolute best to get right answers consistently. The GMAT is essentially a game of seeing how many right answers you can get in the time allotted. Approach the test with that conception in mind, and focus intently on the question in front of you with one goal in mind: getting a CORRECT answer.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some new verbal and quant materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions.

Good luck!
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New post 12 Sep 2018, 11:20
WOW. Thank you!! I'm truly appreciative of you breaking down each component within Verbal and Quant for me. I will take your advice and incorporate that into my focused study. thanks again for all your help!!
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New post 17 Sep 2018, 09:34
jaswang wrote:
Hello fellow GMAT assassins,

I start Manhattan Gmat course tomorrow. My test is officially set for 11/17 and I have scheduled a 2nd test for 01/05. I've been tackling problems within the OG handbook and have read a few chapters in Fundamentals of Math. I plan on taking a CAT every weekend either on Saturday or Sunday. I work full time and also have a 4 year old Daughter so finding the necessary time to study can be difficult.

Mon-Fri = I average about 2-3 hours of study
Saturday = I average about 4-6 hours
Sunday = I average about 4-6 hours

09/01 (first CAT) score = 540. Quant 36, Verbal 29. I ran out of time and didn't answer the last question in the Quant section.
09/09 (2nd CAT) score = 580. Quant 37, Verbal 33. I really focused on pace and time management. I felt like I was having a better rhythm then the first CAT, but results were not that much better.


I will keep this thread going, but if anyone can teach this old dog some new tricks, that would be much appreciated. Looking forward to this journey.....


Hi

Which Manhattan Course you have started?. Manhattan will set a study plan for you, i only advise you to make an error log while practicing questions. Error log will help you a lot after you practiced the questions. 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.

Good Luck
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Re: 540 to 580 to .......  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Sep 2018, 02:58
jaswang wrote:
Hello fellow GMAT assassins,

I start Manhattan Gmat course tomorrow. My test is officially set for 11/17 and I have scheduled a 2nd test for 01/05. I've been tackling problems within the OG handbook and have read a few chapters in Fundamentals of Math. I plan on taking a CAT every weekend either on Saturday or Sunday. I work full time and also have a 4 year old Daughter so finding the necessary time to study can be difficult.

Mon-Fri = I average about 2-3 hours of study
Saturday = I average about 4-6 hours
Sunday = I average about 4-6 hours

09/01 (first CAT) score = 540. Quant 36, Verbal 29. I ran out of time and didn't answer the last question in the Quant section.
09/09 (2nd CAT) score = 580. Quant 37, Verbal 33. I really focused on pace and time management. I felt like I was having a better rhythm then the first CAT, but results were not that much better.


I will keep this thread going, but if anyone can teach this old dog some new tricks, that would be much appreciated. Looking forward to this journey.....
'

Hi jaswang,

Welcome to GMATCLUB. Around 3 months is good enough to improve your score. It's a good thing you have given your GMAT Mocks. You now know your weaknesses and can work on them. If you are willing to study dedicatedly for three months, you are sure to achieve your goal. 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.

Your choice of using MGMAT course for your preparation is great. MGMAT guides are phenomenal and cover the entire syllabus really well. 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.

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.

Further taking multiple mocks might help. Apart from the GMATPREP, Manhattan GMAT tests and Veritas Prep Tests in my experience have a 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 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: 540 to 580 to .......  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Sep 2018, 18:40
jaswang wrote:
WOW. Thank you!! I'm truly appreciative of you breaking down each component within Verbal and Quant for me. I will take your advice and incorporate that into my focused study. thanks again for all your help!!


My pleasure! So glad I could help :).
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Re: 540 to 580 to ....... &nbs [#permalink] 18 Sep 2018, 18:40
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