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560 to 530, I'm broken. Need help.

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560 to 530, I'm broken. Need help.  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2019, 09:27
This afternoon after taking the GMAC diagnostic test 1 for the second time (without reviewing previously) after a month, I ended up with a measly 530 (Q39 V25 IR2). I took my first diagnostic test 1 on 17th of last month and scored 560 (Q42 V26 IR3), started preparing seriously on the 1st of this month. After a month of solving OG 18 and Manhattan SC, I was pretty confident I was going to end up in my 600s on my second attempt at diagnostic test 1. To my utter dismay, I ended with 530. During the first test, I slacked on the verbal because of time so this time I decided to start with verbal. I answered more questions correctly on Verbal this time around but still ended up with a lower score. My quant also suffered severely because I started verbal first. I'm beyond disappointed. I plan on taking the actual test in about 4 months from now or perhaps more if my test scores do not improve. I plan on working through the rest of the Manhattan series and Power Score CR. I also plan on working on GMAT for about 10 - 20 hours a week. I have read lots of debriefs but I still need advice on how to improve (aiming 700s) in all sections including IR. IR makes my head hurt. Thank you for your assistance in advance!
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New post 01 Feb 2019, 09:56
Hie till now what resources you have followed and what are the mocks you have given ?

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New post 01 Feb 2019, 10:15
In my preparation I used OG 18 and Manhattan SC. I did all questions in January.

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Re: 560 to 530, I'm broken. Need help.  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2019, 10:36
1
Well, there's nothing to be so disappointed. You could have very well focussed on your strengths over one month and studied topics that you like, and very well ignored your weaknesses, question type that is challenging for you.

For the Quant section, I believe pacing is your challenge.
- Can you comfortable solve all the questions in the stipulated time?
- Do you have less time at the end of the section and hence hurriedly answered questions quickly? Doing so could very well result in a string of incorrect answers and thereby resulting in a steep dip in the score.
I would advise you to improve your pacing by taking several times tests, and by following a pacing strategy.

For the Verbal section, you should focus on your weaknesses.
- Which question type do you find the most difficult?
- You just mentioned Manhattan SC. How do you fair in RC and CR?

Think about these questions. I'm sure you'll improve.
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Re: 560 to 530, I'm broken. Need help.  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2019, 15:44
Hi roymba8732,

To start, many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores, so if you've been studying for just 1 month, then it's likely that you just have not put in enough time and effort yet. These two CAT Scores are remarkably similar to one another though - meaning that you continue to 'see' (and respond to) the Exam in the same general ways. Raising a Score in the mid-500s to the point that you could consistently score 700+ will likely require at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

From what you describe, your studies have primarily involved working through a series of books. Unfortunately, many Test Takers who use a 'book heavy' study approach end up getting 'stuck' at a particular score level - and while it might be too early to determine whether that has happened to you or not, you would likely benefit from investing in some new, non-book resources. Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on your timeline and your goals:

1) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
3) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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New post 01 Feb 2019, 16:44
EMPOWERgmatRichC thank you for your response. I am planning to apply to B-school fall this year but it all depends on my GMAT scores, I'm aiming at top 20 US B-schools. Moving forward I think I can reliably put in 20 hours a week. Please assist me.
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New post 01 Feb 2019, 17:44
Hi roymba8732,

You've got plenty of time before the Round 1 applications in the Fall - which is good. Now that you have an idea that certain aspects of your current studies aren't necessarily that effective, we should try to define what some of those issues are.

"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?

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Rich
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560 to 530, I'm broken. Need help.  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2019, 18:38
EMPOWERgmatRichC Please find below this breakdown of my GMAC CAT scores

Verbal
CR - 7 out of 9 correct
RC - 6 out of 14 correct
SC - 10 out of 13 correct

I got first 6 questions of the verbal wrong - I rushed in reading RC because I did not want to lose time like what happened in my first CAT (I paid dearly for it)

Quant
PS - 11 out of 17 correct
DS - 5 out of 14 correct

I got last 6 wrong of the quant wrong mostly DS questions - I rushed in solving I was out time (I paid dearly for it)
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Re: 560 to 530, I'm broken. Need help.  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Feb 2019, 01:24
roymba8732 wrote:
This afternoon after taking the GMAC diagnostic test 1 for the second time (without reviewing previously) after a month, I ended up with a measly 530 (Q39 V25 IR2). I took my first diagnostic test 1 on 17th of last month and scored 560 (Q42 V26 IR3), started preparing seriously on the 1st of this month. After a month of solving OG 18 and Manhattan SC, I was pretty confident I was going to end up in my 600s on my second attempt at diagnostic test 1. To my utter dismay, I ended with 530. During the first test, I slacked on the verbal because of time so this time I decided to start with verbal. I answered more questions correctly on Verbal this time around but still ended up with a lower score. My quant also suffered severely because I started verbal first. I'm beyond disappointed. I plan on taking the actual test in about 4 months from now or perhaps more if my test scores do not improve. I plan on working through the rest of the Manhattan series and Power Score CR. I also plan on working on GMAT for about 10 - 20 hours a week. I have read lots of debriefs but I still need advice on how to improve (aiming 700s) in all sections including IR. IR makes my head hurt. Thank you for your assistance in advance!


Hi roymba8732,

Welcome to GMATCLUB. Sorry to hear about your experience. 4 months is good enough to improve your score. It’s a good thing you have taken a GMAT. You now know your weaknesses and work on them. If you are willing to study dedicatedly for that period, 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.

You can also try out the MGMAT guides they are phenomenal and cover the entire syllabus really well. Just by going through these guides and solving the OG will help you reach 600+.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 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: 560 to 530, I'm broken. Need help.  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Feb 2019, 13:36
Hi roymba8732,

The type of analysis that I mentioned in my prior post needs to be more detailed than the information that you have provided (and it should NOT be limited to the sub-category of question that you got wrong). For example, there's a big difference between getting a PS question wrong because you made a silly mistake (meaning that you actually DO have the ability to get it correct) and getting it wrong because you could not remember a particular formula or math rule. Those distinctions are really important, so you have to be more detailed about your review of this CAT (and you should plan to do that type of thorough analysis of each CAT you take). Before we can discuss the exact areas that you should be focused on, we'll need more specific details (and the answers to the original questions I asked).

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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Re: 560 to 530, I'm broken. Need help.  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2019, 10:50
Hi roymba8732,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First off, my friend, you ARE NOT broken, OK? We just need to get you on a more effective study path and you will be fine. The first thing I want to address is your practice exams. Right now, you don’t need to worry about taking monthly exams. Remember, GMAT practice tests serve two main purposes: to provide diagnostic information and to get you accustomed to the test-taking experience. In other words, by taking a practice test, you can get a sense of what types of GMAT questions you are comfortable answering, arrive at a reasonable estimation of how you would score on the GMAT at that point in time, and practice taking the GMAT and handling its various challenges, such as time pressure and the varying difficulty of the questions presented.

What we know at this point is that your baseline score is around 530 to 560 and you are 170+ points away from your score goal. So, rather than taking any further practice tests, you want to focus your efforts on following a linear and structured study plan so you can individually improve your quant and verbal skills, starting with the foundations before moving to more advanced concepts. Once you have sufficiently improved those skills, then resume taking practice exams, OK? Let me expand on this idea further.

Let’s say, for example, you are learning about Number Properties. First, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such 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.

Follow a similar routine for verbal. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each question type, do focused practice so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, 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 instead 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 thereby comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, 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, 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 Reading Comprehension answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. Keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to analyze 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, it is likely that you will have to work on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, 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 clearly refer to nouns? 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 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, 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. 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 skills improve, you will then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

In order to follow the path described above, you may consider using an online self-study course, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses.

You also may find it helpful to read the following articles about
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT and taking GMAT practice tests.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions.

Good luck!
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Re: 560 to 530, I'm broken. Need help.   [#permalink] 05 Feb 2019, 10:50
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