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650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)

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650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Dec 2019, 02:40
Hi all, I just got back from my GMAT test where I scored a 650 (Q44, V35). This was slightly lower then my most recent MBA GMAT test where i managed a 680 (Q47, V36).

Background:
I plan to apply for an MBA in the coming year for the fall of 2021 intake. My target score is a 730 and above so I can get into Top 20 US B-Schools. I wanted to get an early started so I started preparing for my GMAT 3 months before my test date. I focused almost primarily on Quant in terms of my preparation with only a small amount of time spent on Verbal. I also wan't properly planning my study sessions in terms of hours or what to focus on. My study sessions were fairly haphazard and lacked structure.

In terms of material I used an old Manhattan Guides series I had and also an old OG (2013) for practice. I did two of the free MBA tests as well as one additional near the test date. I scored 560 in the first test and then 680 in the test I attempted a week before the paper. I also scored 660-680 in 2 Veritas tests I purchased. In terms of my study plans, I was doing fairly well in my first 2 months but then because of some job enforced relocation and a few personal problems I wasn't able to focus at all in my last month. I considered rescheduling the test but I wanted to go through the exam experience regardless. That said, near the end of my preparation with so many other things going on, I felt the exam was more of a pain as opposed to something I wanted to achieve and I started having a "get over it" attitude about the entire affair.

Guidance Required:
I want to make a proper study plan for my next attempt along with whatever books/resources/online courses I would need to execute said study plan. I'm willing to spend some cash for resources but I'd rather not spend needlessly. I can manage two hours of studying on weekdays and at least four on weekends. So my questions are.
1) What is a suitable time period for an improvement from my score of 650 to my target score of 730.
2) What resources and tests are the best for improving both Quant and Verbal from a grass root level. For Quant specifically I want to ensure I have an in depth understanding of the concepts being tested so I can score really well.
3) How should I structure my study plan? (should I do Quant an hour, then verbal in the next session or should i structure it differently)
4) Any other tips that helped you or someone you know improve their score?

Thank you in advance for all the help :)
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Re: 650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Dec 2019, 05:56
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fasih96 wrote:
Hi all, I just got back from my GMAT test where I scored a 650 (Q44, V35). This was slightly lower then my most recent MBA GMAT test where i managed a 680 (Q47, V36).

Background:
I plan to apply for an MBA in the coming year for the fall of 2021 intake. My target score is a 730 and above so I can get into Top 20 US B-Schools. I wanted to get an early started so I started preparing for my GMAT 3 months before my test date. I focused almost primarily on Quant in terms of my preparation with only a small amount of time spent on Verbal. I also wan't properly planning my study sessions in terms of hours or what to focus on. My study sessions were fairly haphazard and lacked structure.

In terms of material I used an old Manhattan Guides series I had and also an old OG (2013) for practice. I did two of the free MBA tests as well as one additional near the test date. I scored 560 in the first test and then 680 in the test I attempted a week before the paper. I also scored 660-680 in 2 Veritas tests I purchased. In terms of my study plans, I was doing fairly well in my first 2 months but then because of some job enforced relocation and a few personal problems I wasn't able to focus at all in my last month. I considered rescheduling the test but I wanted to go through the exam experience regardless. That said, near the end of my preparation with so many other things going on, I felt the exam was more of a pain as opposed to something I wanted to achieve and I started having a "get over it" attitude about the entire affair.

Guidance Required:
I want to make a proper study plan for my next attempt along with whatever books/resources/online courses I would need to execute said study plan. I'm willing to spend some cash for resources but I'd rather not spend needlessly. I can manage two hours of studying on weekdays and at least four on weekends. So my questions are.
1) What is a suitable time period for an improvement from my score of 650 to my target score of 730.
2) What resources and tests are the best for improving both Quant and Verbal from a grass root level. For Quant specifically I want to ensure I have an in depth understanding of the concepts being tested so I can score really well.
3) How should I structure my study plan? (should I do Quant an hour, then verbal in the next session or should i structure it differently)
4) Any other tips that helped you or someone you know improve their score?

Thank you in advance for all the help :)



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Re: 650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Dec 2019, 11:12
1
Hi Fashil96,

The good news is that 650 is not a bad start. To improve your GMAT score to a higher level, first and foremost, I think studying quant and verbal simultaneously is a good move. For example, if you study for 3 hours on any particular day, study quant for 1.5 hours and verbal for 1.5 hours.

Regarding how to improve your verbal and quant skills, you need to go through GMAT quant and verbal carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills. The overall process will be to learn all about how to answer question types with which you currently aren't very comfortable, and do dozens of practice questions category by category, basically driving up your score point by point. For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, then carefully review the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. 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. 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, types that you would rather not see, and types 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.

You can work on verbal in a similar manner. Let’s say you are reviewing Critical Reasoning. Be sure that you practice a large number of Critical Reasoning questions: Strengthen and Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, find the Conclusion, Must be True, etc. As you go through the questions, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get correct. If you missed a Weaken question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize what the question was asking? Did you skip over a key detail in an answer choice? Getting GMAT verbal questions right is a matter of what you know, what you see, and what you do. So, any time that you don't get one right, you can seek to identify what you had to know to get the right answer, what you had to see that you didn't see, and what you could have done differently to arrive at the correct answer.

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.

Regarding resources, you should check out the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses, and also read through some GMAT success stories to see what materials have worked well for other test-takers.

Lastly, you may find it helpful to read the following article:

How to Score a 700+ on the GMAT
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Re: 650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Dec 2019, 19:26
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Hi fasih96,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not turn out better. First off, a 650/Q44 is a solid Score, so it could be enough to get you into your first-choice School. That having been said, since you're interested in some highly-competitive Programs, retesting (with the goal of scoring higher) makes sense. A 730+ Score requires a high level of commitment - and a focus on learning and practicing the proper Tactics. While I understand what you described about some of the challenges that you faced during your prior studies, you cannot afford to 'lose interest' or you might never achieve your Score Goal. Raising a 650 to the point that you can consistently score 730+ will likely require at least another 2 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.

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 how you've been studying and your goals:

1) Did you use any other study materials besides the books that you mentioned?
2) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs/mocks and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
3) What application deadlines are you currently facing?

You might also choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. While the ESR doesn’t provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong on Test Day (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

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Re: 650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Dec 2019, 00:12
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi fasih96,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day did not turn out better. First off, a 650/Q44 is a solid Score, so it could be enough to get you into your first-choice School. That having been said, since you're interested in some highly-competitive Programs, retesting (with the goal of scoring higher) makes sense. A 730+ Score requires a high level of commitment - and a focus on learning and practicing the proper Tactics. While I understand what you described about some of the challenges that you faced during your prior studies, you cannot afford to 'lose interest' or you might never achieve your Score Goal. Raising a 650 to the point that you can consistently score 730+ will likely require at least another 2 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.

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 how you've been studying and your goals:

1) Did you use any other study materials besides the books that you mentioned?
2) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs/mocks and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
3) What application deadlines are you currently facing?

You might also choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. While the ESR doesn’t provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong on Test Day (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

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

Hi! Thank you for taking out the time to help me.

1) I only used the 2013 Manhattan Guides pack (with 10 guides) and to go with that I only practices from the Official GMAT Review 13th Edition.
2) CAT Dates and Scores
a. September 9th - 650 (Q46,V34)
b. October 13th - 670 (Q48, V34)
c. Dec 8th - 860 (Q47, V36)
3) I plan on applying for the 2021 Fall Intake so even the earliest date would be in August of 2018.
4) I rejected my scores so I'm not entirely sure if I can order the ESR for this.

Thank you again for the help :)
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Re: 650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Dec 2019, 14:23
Hi fasih96,

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 3 CAT score results (I assume that the '860' is supposed to be a '660') - along with your Official Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 660 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes. By extension, since you've been performing at the same general level for the last 3 months, it's likely that you've gotten 'stuck' at this score level for some time - and you may have developed some 'bad habits' that will take time to fix (and replace with new 'good habits'). Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level.

You're also given yourself plenty of time before you plan to apply to School - which is good. From what you've described, your studies so far have been "book heavy"; unfortunately, many GMATers who study in that way end up getting 'stuck' at a particular score level - and that is likely a contributing factor in your situation. Even the best books are limited in what they can teach you; they also can't force you to approach questions in a certain way and their explanations are often one-sided. As such, you would likely find it beneficial to invest in some new, non-book study materials for this next phase of your studies.

You CAN purchase an Enhanced Score Report - even for a canceled Score. While we can use your prior CAT Scores to determine what probably happened on Test Day, the only way that we would know for sure is if you purchased the ESR. If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

1) Do you want to continue your studies immediately or take a little 'time off' (for end-of-the-year festivities, etc.) and restart your studies in a couple of weeks?

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Re: 650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Dec 2019, 22:13
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi fasih96,
You CAN purchase an Enhanced Score Report - even for a canceled Score. While we can use your prior CAT Scores to determine what probably happened on Test Day, the only way that we would know for sure is if you purchased the ESR. If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

1) Do you want to continue your studies immediately or take a little 'time off' (for end-of-the-year festivities, etc.) and restart your studies in a couple of weeks?

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

I purchased the ESR, there's a delay before it becomes available to you but I'll send it over as soon as I get it.

1) I want to start immediately and in fact I was taking a week off to just relax and wanted to start again on Monday. Till then I wanted to form a game plan over the weekend. I do plan to take a week off in the end of January but even in that I'm committed to studying whenever I can find time.
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Re: 650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2019, 13:27
Hi fasih96,

Once we have your ESR, we'll be able to put together a specific Study Plan for this next phase of your studies. In the short term, there is some work that you can do before your ESR becomes available:

"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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650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Dec 2019, 02:18
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
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

Hi!
So based on the last CAT these are my answers. Also, the ESR report is attached below.

For Quant: 9 Mistakes (5-Silly Mistakes, 4-Some Concept I couldn't remember)
For Vebal: 12 Mistakes (2-Silly Mistakes, 6-Some Concept I couldn't Remember, 3-Hard Question, 1-Narrowed Down to 2 Choices)
Time never seemed too much of an issue for me in both the official and the practice CAT though I was finishing sections on the dot of their full time.
Attachments

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Re: 650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2019, 11:48
Hi fasih96,

I've sent you a PM with an analysis of your ESR and some additional notes.

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Re: 650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2019, 22:42
fasih96 wrote:

Guidance Required:
I want to make a proper study plan for my next attempt along with whatever books/resources/online courses I would need to execute said study plan. I'm willing to spend some cash for resources but I'd rather not spend needlessly. I can manage two hours of studying on weekdays and at least four on weekends. So my questions are.
1) What is a suitable time period for an improvement from my score of 650 to my target score of 730.
2) What resources and tests are the best for improving both Quant and Verbal from a grass root level. For Quant specifically I want to ensure I have an in depth understanding of the concepts being tested so I can score really well.
3) How should I structure my study plan? (should I do Quant an hour, then verbal in the next session or should i structure it differently)
4) Any other tips that helped you or someone you know improve their score?

Thank you in advance for all the help :)


1) Time frame: depends upon case to case basis but given your background you should give your self 3 months of a systematic guided study. Since you are eyeing 2021, you can afford to give yourself sufficient time and if things don't go your way for any reason then you can always go for one more attempt.

2) Try to use newer material. Go through the advanced OG questions. Ensure you don't lack understanding of any basic topics. Focus more on quality than quantity.

3) You need to be patient and persistent in your efforts. Don't give up and don't let other things bother your studies.

All the best!
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Re: 650 on 1st Attempt - Study Plan/Guide for Improvement (Target=730)   [#permalink] 24 Dec 2019, 22:42
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