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# 660 retake - no improvement in sight

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660 retake - no improvement in sight [#permalink]

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01 Apr 2013, 08:09
Long time lurker here. I already took the GMAT in December last year and scored 660, however my target is 700.
I not only want to share my experience, but also get some valuable input - it seems like my learning doesn't pay off

All prep tests were timed, max. once a week, and usually every day at the same time.

Material used: OG 13, Kaplan Premier.

Kaplan CAT1: 560 (Q 46%, V 48%) October 2012
Kaplan CAT2: 580 (Q 46%, V 56%) November 2012
Kaplan CAT3: 600 (Q 56%, V 78%) November 2012

at this time (December 2012) I knew I wasn't quite ready, however I still wanted to give it a try. With a good score, I still had the chance to apply for a decent school for the 2013 intake.

GMAT: 660 (Q47, V34)

I was positively surprised! I read that Kaplan's scores are underestimated, so 660 was a good basement to build on. However, my target was 700, so I ordered MGMAT SC as well as MGMAT Number Properties. I took a break for a month (maybe that was a mistake...).

Kaplan CAT4: 650 (Q 85%, V 58%) February 2013
Kaplan CAT5: 640 (Q 73%, V 69%) February 2013

GMATprep1: 620 (Q39, V35) February 2013

What a disappointment. After hours and hours of studying, 40 points less than in the actual GMAT? I decided to sign up for Magoosh in order to get some more practice. I solved 400 questions each in Q and V.

I solved all OG questions and started to answer those questions I got wrong.

MGMAT1: 620 (Q 49%, V 79%) March 2013
MGMAT2: 680 (Q 63%, V 84%) March 2013
MGMAT3: 590 (Q 59%, V 64%) March 2013 (I was tired when I took the test)

and then, today:

GMATprep2: 620 (Q44, V32) April 2013

My appointment for the GMAT is in two weeks. When I look at my test scores, I don't think it's worth trying it - I mean, I scored 660 in December and it looks like I'm far away from that score now! Was the first real test too easy, was it just luck? I can't really find my weaknesses, Q and V are quite similar. In V, as a non native speaker I find reading comprehension not only difficult to solve, but also difficult to improve (I started reading business magazines).

It is really disappointing. I spend 2h a day during the week and 4h a day on week ends practicing. It seems like it's a waste of time
I would appreciate some feedback from you guys. Why the drop from 660 (real GMAT) to 620 GMATprep? Should I give it a try in two weeks, reschedule the appointment or cancel it - maybe it just can't get any better?

Thanks!
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Re: 660 retake - no improvement in sight [#permalink]

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02 Apr 2013, 09:38
Hi,

First off, I admire your dedication. Great job so far. I agree with you: if you can reschedule your test then do it. Unless you have a hard deadline it is not worth the trouble. A couple of things:

1. Have you been keeping an error log?

2. What other official materials have you worked on (GMAT Focus, Qpack 1, Paper Tests)?

I would stick to as much official material as possible. For Quant, using MGMAT or GMATClub CAT is good practice. For verbal I do not assign my students any non-official material. You have done a ton of non-official material and that could be one reason for your score variation.

Also, at some point just practicing questions does not help and can be counterproductive. My gut reaction is that you need to consolidate the knowledge that you have. You have done a lot of practice but maybe you need to do more review and analysis and more strengthening in specific areas.

Let me know the answers to the questions above and I will try to provide more insight.

Happy Studies,

HG.
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If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html

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Re: 660 retake - no improvement in sight [#permalink]

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02 Apr 2013, 09:51
Definitely don't quit. If nothing else, taking the GMAT a 2nd time after scoring a 660 shows that you're aware that a 660 is on the low-end and that you're trying to improve it. If you score worse, at least you have the 660 to fall back on.

Like you, I got a 660 on my first GMAT attempt, then had a disastrous 610 on the second attempt before breaking through with a 700 on my third, and final attempt. The GMAT is one of the few things you still have control of before you apply - make sure you're happy with your effort on this part.
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Re: 660 retake - no improvement in sight [#permalink]

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03 Apr 2013, 13:02
HerrGrau wrote:

1. Have you been keeping an error log?

2. What other official materials have you worked on (GMAT Focus, Qpack 1, Paper Tests)?

1. For OG 13 I used GMAT prep improvement chart (I'm not yet allowed to post links). For Magoosh, there's an overview online of those questions I answered incorrectly. For both resources I started to re-answer those questions.

2. Besides OG 13 no other official material. Any suggestions?

3. Timing is ok, I never run out of time but I rarely have more than 1 minute left in both Q and V.

Thanks for your valuable input! I'm pretty sure I'll reschedule my appointment by at least 1 month.
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Re: 660 retake - no improvement in sight [#permalink]

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03 Apr 2013, 13:04
CobraKai wrote:
Definitely don't quit. If nothing else, taking the GMAT a 2nd time after scoring a 660 shows that you're aware that a 660 is on the low-end and that you're trying to improve it. If you score worse, at least you have the 660 to fall back on.

Like you, I got a 660 on my first GMAT attempt, then had a disastrous 610 on the second attempt before breaking through with a 700 on my third, and final attempt. The GMAT is one of the few things you still have control of before you apply - make sure you're happy with your effort on this part.

Your post motivated me! I still have a few months left, so even if the next try will be a disaster I'll still be able to give it a third try. How did you improve from 610 to 700, what material did you use and can you recommend?

cheers
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Re: 660 retake - no improvement in sight [#permalink]

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03 Apr 2013, 13:13
Richmond wrote:
CobraKai wrote:
Definitely don't quit. If nothing else, taking the GMAT a 2nd time after scoring a 660 shows that you're aware that a 660 is on the low-end and that you're trying to improve it. If you score worse, at least you have the 660 to fall back on.

Like you, I got a 660 on my first GMAT attempt, then had a disastrous 610 on the second attempt before breaking through with a 700 on my third, and final attempt. The GMAT is one of the few things you still have control of before you apply - make sure you're happy with your effort on this part.

Your post motivated me! I still have a few months left, so even if the next try will be a disaster I'll still be able to give it a third try. How did you improve from 610 to 700, what material did you use and can you recommend?

cheers

For full disclosure, I dropped major $$on Manhattan GMAT's online on-demand course (includeing 6 CATs). I felt like it was worth the time and$$, and that got me as far as a 660.

My second go around I just did a bunch of OG problems timed, and that's when I got a horrendous 610.

My third try I used these two books:

http://www.gmathacks.com/resources/gmat-hacks-bookshelf.html (total GMAT math, total GMAT Verbal)

I'd recommend you not skip around on the subjects but to make a schedule and go through both books cover to cover (studying both Q and V on the same day, after all, you're tested on both of these in one sitting) no matter how elementary the subject is.

I stopped taking CATs because I was familiar with the format and timing of the test, it just became clear to me that I needed to focus on the content.

The GMAT Hacks sites has a bunch of useful articles as well.

http://www.gmathacks.com/main/category-contents.html

Good luck!
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Re: 660 retake - no improvement in sight [#permalink]

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08 Apr 2013, 11:50
I just wanted to let you know that I followed your advice and rescheduled the appointment to mid-June.

Any suggestions on further material?
I've already gone through OG13 and Magoosh, I've taken 5 Kaplan CATs, 3 MGMAT CATs and 2 GMATpreps.

cheers
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Re: 660 retake - no improvement in sight [#permalink]

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09 Apr 2013, 05:39
How much time are you spending analyzing test results.

Do you know your accuracy levels for SC/CR/RC problems in 500-600, 600-700, 700-800 level questions. Similarly for different quant topics ?

Are you rectifying your weak areas between 2 tests. Test every weekend is too much, unless you have less than a month for GMAT. Keep 1 week gap so that you can work on your weakness during the interval.
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Re: 660 retake - no improvement in sight [#permalink]

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09 Apr 2013, 13:01
Major props for the dedication, Richmond!

A couple of things jump out at me. First of all, I'd be willing to bet anything that you have a tendency to get sloppy with your timing and accuracy on the quant section. Your quant scores are all over the place, and that's an almost sure sign that you aren't being careful enough on the questions that you should get right, and the scores also suggest that you might be spending too much time on the tougher questions.

I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that if we take a look through your MGMAT tests, we'll see plenty of quant questions that took you more than three minutes, and we'll also see plenty of avoidable errors on easier questions. Sure, it never hurts to spend some time improving your underlying quant skills, but you probably also need to focus on your approach. Read every quant question twice before you get started, just to make sure that there isn't some little modifier that might cause you to miss a question. Spend an extra few seconds re-checking your work, just to make sure that you aren't doing something silly. On an adaptive test, a few careless errors can absolutely torpedo your score, and you want to be 100% sure that you aren't missing questions that are relatively easy for you.

On the verbal side, it looks like you've spent a ton of time with non-official practice questions, and that's never ideal. No matter what test-prep guys might claim, it's impossible for any company to perfectly copy the nuance of GMAT verbal questions. There are a ton of resources out there (the official GMAT verbal review guide, GMATPrep Question Pack, GMAT paper tests, and LSAT exams if you need an extra challenge on CR and RC) that you haven't tapped yet, and I would very strongly encourage you to focus on those in the next month or two.

Sure, you can learn some tips and grammar rules from the MGMAT or Aristotle or PowerScore books, but there's absolutely no substitute for good, official questions. So far, it looks like the majority of your practice verbal questions have been from non-official sources, and that can definitely cause some problems in the long run.

Keep fighting!
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Re: 660 retake - no improvement in sight   [#permalink] 09 Apr 2013, 13:01
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# 660 retake - no improvement in sight

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