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# 700 in first attempt - Imbalanced score - Should I retake?

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Intern
Joined: 12 Dec 2017
Posts: 3
700 in first attempt - Imbalanced score - Should I retake?  [#permalink]

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30 Mar 2018, 12:20
Hi everyone,

I am quite new to this forum (joined in December 2017). I took the decision to take the GMAT last December and finally appeared last Saturday (24 March 2018) and scored a 700 (Q46, v40, IR7). This forum has been quite helpful to me in my preparation and in this post I will share my experience as well as seek some advice from all the beautiful souls out here.

My profile:
Female, mid-20s, Finance major (CGPA 3.90 on a scale of 4.00), Non-native English speaker, 4 years of experience at a well-known multinational bank

Preparation:
Throughout my preparation period I was working an average of 12 hours per day (add to that 3-4 hours of commute) and I hardly had time to study on weekdays.

I did not purchase any 3rd party materials and relied mostly on GMAT OG for my preparation. I made it a point to review each and every explanation irrespective of whether I got the answer right or wrong in the first place. This helped a great deal in developing my SC and CR skills.

I also used the free trial version of Economist GMAT. I did not like it much as I could not choose the specific topics in the free version. However, I took this course at the very beginning of the journey so it helped me understand the structure of the exam, as well as the importance of pre-thinking in CR and estimation techniques in Quant.

Practice test: In the very beginning, I took GMAC Test 1 and scored a 710. Towards the end, I took MGMAT CAT#1 (free) - the Quant was unusually difficult here and I scored a 690. I was supposed to take GMAC Test 2 the day before exam but could not manage the time.

All in all, I feel I could have done much more on the preparation side, but the workload and some personal priorities took their toll and I decided to sit for the exam anyway rather than delay it any further.

Exam day:
I chose the sequence Quant - Verbal - IR- AWA.

I cannot even begin to tell how shocked I was to see a score of Q46 (60%). I have been a Mathematics topper all my life and in both the practice tests that I took, I had scored 49-50 in the Quant section. While the V40 (91%) did save my final score, I don't think I will ever get over my dismal Quant score. In hindsight, I think it's the DS questions that killed it. I remember feeling that I was taking too much time and hence breezing through some of the DS questions towards the middle of the test. I believe I got unlucky and must have got most of them wrong as I started getting some very easy ones towards the end, although I had quite a few minutes remaining to spare by then.

What worked well for Verbal was probably pre-thinking strategy for CR and RC, as well as the OG explanations for SC. I remember rushing through one RC and a few CRs in the middle as (again) I felt I was taking too much time. In the end I had approximately 15 min left for 6 questions, with none of them being RC. However, I think I got lucky with my calculated guesses in Verbal (unlike those in Quant) which resulted in the beyond-my-expectation score!

Tips
Although I was half as prepared as many of the experts in this forum are, here are my two cents which I believe can be helpful for future examinees:

1. Don't follow the timing too religiously. I read somewhere to be guided by this 'chart', where you should be spending 10 minutes every 5 questions for Quant and 9 minutes every 5 questions for Verbal. I followed this too strictly which basically made me panic in the middle of the test and consequently, I was left with quite a few spare minutes in both sections towards the end.

2. Don't take your strengths for granted. All my life I thought I had superior quantitative skills, always aced through quantitative courses in school and undergrad. This is probably why I focused more on Verbal in my prep and less on Quant. In the end, I am left speechless with the 60% score in Quant which is far below my potential.

3. IR is NOT a beast: I started practicing IR in the final week of my preparation and no matter how hard I tried, I could not finish all questions within the allocated time of 30min and never scored above 4.5. I was worried about IR more than I was about Quant. I felt a poor IR score would give business schools the impression that I am not much of a business executive material. In the exam, however, I found the IR questions to be quite decent with no significant number crunching and finished all of the 12 questions within 28min. Got 7 out of 8 in IR as per the unofficial score. So yeah, don't fret over it too much.

Should I retake?

Now, for the tough part... 1 week after the exam, I am still appalled at the imbalance in my scores. As much as I am happy with the overall score, I would have been more than willing to give up a few points in Verbal in exchange for a few on Quant. Now I am uncertain as to whether I should retake the exam to get a better balance of scores, given that I am targeting some of the top schools worldwide.

Factors working against the retake
- As mentioned earlier, I have a good overall quant background to establish my case and make up for the imbalance to some extent. I have been a mathematics topper all my life (received the highest marks in the world in Mathematics in my O'Levels and went on to major in Finance, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a CGPA of 3.90/4.00). I am also pursuing my CFA (already passed Level 2) which shows I will be able to handle the course material in MBA/ Masters in Finance whichever I choose.
- I have already invested significant time on this and am not sure if further time investment would be optimal to get a 20-30 point increase. Also, I have my CFA Level 3 exam coming up in June, which means I will only be able to prepare for the retake after June. This would be 3 months away from now and might mean I would have to start all over!

Factors working for the retake
Only factor working is I have made some silly mistakes in Quant and with some practice, I believe I can easily get a 20-30 point increase in the overall score with at least 80% in Quant.

So good people in this forum, I would like to ask you to share if anyone has been through a similar situation and your advice to me in this case. Should I continue with my applications with this imbalanced score if I am targeting top 10 US schools?
Intern
Joined: 24 Feb 2017
Posts: 25
Location: Belgium
GMAT 1: 710 Q50 V35
GPA: 3.1
Re: 700 in first attempt - Imbalanced score - Should I retake?  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

30 Mar 2018, 13:04
Hi Shajia,

First of all, congratulations for your 700 score in your first attempt.
From my experience, you are able to reach a Q50. Your Q46 doesn’t mean that you cannot reach 50.

I got 580 (Q48-V23) and three weeks after 710 (Q50-V35).

So don’t hesitate, pick up another date and register for the test, try to have a confortable and enough sleep the day before... in my opinion you can reach 750.

Good luck!

Sent from my iPhone using GMAT Club Forum
Admitted - Which School Forum Moderator
Joined: 21 Mar 2018
Posts: 340
Concentration: Finance
Re: 700 in first attempt - Imbalanced score - Should I retake?  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

30 Mar 2018, 13:06
1
Shajia wrote:
Hi everyone,

I am quite new to this forum (joined in December 2017). I took the decision to take the GMAT last December and finally appeared last Saturday (24 March 2018) and scored a 700 (Q46, v40, IR7). This forum has been quite helpful to me in my preparation and in this post I will share my experience as well as seek some advice from all the beautiful souls out here.

My profile:
Female, mid-20s, Finance major (CGPA 3.90 on a scale of 4.00), Non-native English speaker, 4 years of experience at a well-known multinational bank

Preparation:
Throughout my preparation period I was working an average of 12 hours per day (add to that 3-4 hours of commute) and I hardly had time to study on weekdays.

I did not purchase any 3rd party materials and relied mostly on GMAT OG for my preparation. I made it a point to review each and every explanation irrespective of whether I got the answer right or wrong in the first place. This helped a great deal in developing my SC and CR skills.

I also used the free trial version of Economist GMAT. I did not like it much as I could not choose the specific topics in the free version. However, I took this course at the very beginning of the journey so it helped me understand the structure of the exam, as well as the importance of pre-thinking in CR and estimation techniques in Quant.

Practice test: In the very beginning, I took GMAC Test 1 and scored a 710. Towards the end, I took MGMAT CAT#1 (free) - the Quant was unusually difficult here and I scored a 690. I was supposed to take GMAC Test 2 the day before exam but could not manage the time.

All in all, I feel I could have done much more on the preparation side, but the workload and some personal priorities took their toll and I decided to sit for the exam anyway rather than delay it any further.

Exam day:
I chose the sequence Quant - Verbal - IR- AWA.

I cannot even begin to tell how shocked I was to see a score of Q46 (60%). I have been a Mathematics topper all my life and in both the practice tests that I took, I had scored 49-50 in the Quant section. While the V40 (91%) did save my final score, I don't think I will ever get over my dismal Quant score. In hindsight, I think it's the DS questions that killed it. I remember feeling that I was taking too much time and hence breezing through some of the DS questions towards the middle of the test. I believe I got unlucky and must have got most of them wrong as I started getting some very easy ones towards the end, although I had quite a few minutes remaining to spare by then.

What worked well for Verbal was probably pre-thinking strategy for CR and RC, as well as the OG explanations for SC. I remember rushing through one RC and a few CRs in the middle as (again) I felt I was taking too much time. In the end I had approximately 15 min left for 6 questions, with none of them being RC. However, I think I got lucky with my calculated guesses in Verbal (unlike those in Quant) which resulted in the beyond-my-expectation score!

Tips
Although I was half as prepared as many of the experts in this forum are, here are my two cents which I believe can be helpful for future examinees:

1. Don't follow the timing too religiously. I read somewhere to be guided by this 'chart', where you should be spending 10 minutes every 5 questions for Quant and 9 minutes every 5 questions for Verbal. I followed this too strictly which basically made me panic in the middle of the test and consequently, I was left with quite a few spare minutes in both sections towards the end.

2. Don't take your strengths for granted. All my life I thought I had superior quantitative skills, always aced through quantitative courses in school and undergrad. This is probably why I focused more on Verbal in my prep and less on Quant. In the end, I am left speechless with the 60% score in Quant which is far below my potential.

3. IR is NOT a beast: I started practicing IR in the final week of my preparation and no matter how hard I tried, I could not finish all questions within the allocated time of 30min and never scored above 4.5. I was worried about IR more than I was about Quant. I felt a poor IR score would give business schools the impression that I am not much of a business executive material. In the exam, however, I found the IR questions to be quite decent with no significant number crunching and finished all of the 12 questions within 28min. Got 7 out of 8 in IR as per the unofficial score. So yeah, don't fret over it too much.

Should I retake?

Now, for the tough part... 1 week after the exam, I am still appalled at the imbalance in my scores. As much as I am happy with the overall score, I would have been more than willing to give up a few points in Verbal in exchange for a few on Quant. Now I am uncertain as to whether I should retake the exam to get a better balance of scores, given that I am targeting some of the top schools worldwide.

Factors working against the retake
- As mentioned earlier, I have a good overall quant background to establish my case and make up for the imbalance to some extent. I have been a mathematics topper all my life (received the highest marks in the world in Mathematics in my O'Levels and went on to major in Finance, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a CGPA of 3.90/4.00). I am also pursuing my CFA (already passed Level 2) which shows I will be able to handle the course material in MBA/ Masters in Finance whichever I choose.
- I have already invested significant time on this and am not sure if further time investment would be optimal to get a 20-30 point increase. Also, I have my CFA Level 3 exam coming up in June, which means I will only be able to prepare for the retake after June. This would be 3 months away from now and might mean I would have to start all over!

Factors working for the retake
Only factor working is I have made some silly mistakes in Quant and with some practice, I believe I can easily get a 20-30 point increase in the overall score with at least 80% in Quant.

So good people in this forum, I would like to ask you to share if anyone has been through a similar situation and your advice to me in this case. Should I continue with my applications with this imbalanced score if I am targeting top 10 US schools?

Hi Shajia,

I think they are good given all you have mentioned.

Now, after reading your whole post, there is always one conclusion after every few sentences...that you feel or you are sure that you can boost your quant score...and what is more important I understood that you feel ready right now to achieve it... moreover like literally day after exam if it was possible, or in other words after 16 days exam retake policy....so my question is, if you already have CFA level 3 exams waiting as you mention it, why wait to retake it after June, why not now in 2 weeks ? Did you though about it ?
_________________

SVP
Joined: 14 Apr 2009
Posts: 2279
Location: New York, NY
Re: 700 in first attempt - Imbalanced score - Should I retake?  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

30 Mar 2018, 13:34
Top Contributor
I wouldn't worry too much about it at this point. You could spend the time to retake, but risk getting lower for whatever reason. You're sort of at the psychological cutoff point where you are "good enough" for most top schools, though not a standout from a GMAT score perspective. I'd recommend focusing on your story and the rest of your application package as these other details are not to be underestimated when they evaluate you "holistically."

http://www.gmatpill.com
Intern
Joined: 12 Dec 2017
Posts: 3
Re: 700 in first attempt - Imbalanced score - Should I retake?  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

30 Mar 2018, 21:23
billionaire wrote:
Shajia wrote:
Hi everyone,

I am quite new to this forum (joined in December 2017). I took the decision to take the GMAT last December and finally appeared last Saturday (24 March 2018) and scored a 700 (Q46, v40, IR7). This forum has been quite helpful to me in my preparation and in this post I will share my experience as well as seek some advice from all the beautiful souls out here.

My profile:
Female, mid-20s, Finance major (CGPA 3.90 on a scale of 4.00), Non-native English speaker, 4 years of experience at a well-known multinational bank

Preparation:
Throughout my preparation period I was working an average of 12 hours per day (add to that 3-4 hours of commute) and I hardly had time to study on weekdays.

I did not purchase any 3rd party materials and relied mostly on GMAT OG for my preparation. I made it a point to review each and every explanation irrespective of whether I got the answer right or wrong in the first place. This helped a great deal in developing my SC and CR skills.

I also used the free trial version of Economist GMAT. I did not like it much as I could not choose the specific topics in the free version. However, I took this course at the very beginning of the journey so it helped me understand the structure of the exam, as well as the importance of pre-thinking in CR and estimation techniques in Quant.

Practice test: In the very beginning, I took GMAC Test 1 and scored a 710. Towards the end, I took MGMAT CAT#1 (free) - the Quant was unusually difficult here and I scored a 690. I was supposed to take GMAC Test 2 the day before exam but could not manage the time.

All in all, I feel I could have done much more on the preparation side, but the workload and some personal priorities took their toll and I decided to sit for the exam anyway rather than delay it any further.

Exam day:
I chose the sequence Quant - Verbal - IR- AWA.

I cannot even begin to tell how shocked I was to see a score of Q46 (60%). I have been a Mathematics topper all my life and in both the practice tests that I took, I had scored 49-50 in the Quant section. While the V40 (91%) did save my final score, I don't think I will ever get over my dismal Quant score. In hindsight, I think it's the DS questions that killed it. I remember feeling that I was taking too much time and hence breezing through some of the DS questions towards the middle of the test. I believe I got unlucky and must have got most of them wrong as I started getting some very easy ones towards the end, although I had quite a few minutes remaining to spare by then.

What worked well for Verbal was probably pre-thinking strategy for CR and RC, as well as the OG explanations for SC. I remember rushing through one RC and a few CRs in the middle as (again) I felt I was taking too much time. In the end I had approximately 15 min left for 6 questions, with none of them being RC. However, I think I got lucky with my calculated guesses in Verbal (unlike those in Quant) which resulted in the beyond-my-expectation score!

Tips
Although I was half as prepared as many of the experts in this forum are, here are my two cents which I believe can be helpful for future examinees:

1. Don't follow the timing too religiously. I read somewhere to be guided by this 'chart', where you should be spending 10 minutes every 5 questions for Quant and 9 minutes every 5 questions for Verbal. I followed this too strictly which basically made me panic in the middle of the test and consequently, I was left with quite a few spare minutes in both sections towards the end.

2. Don't take your strengths for granted. All my life I thought I had superior quantitative skills, always aced through quantitative courses in school and undergrad. This is probably why I focused more on Verbal in my prep and less on Quant. In the end, I am left speechless with the 60% score in Quant which is far below my potential.

3. IR is NOT a beast: I started practicing IR in the final week of my preparation and no matter how hard I tried, I could not finish all questions within the allocated time of 30min and never scored above 4.5. I was worried about IR more than I was about Quant. I felt a poor IR score would give business schools the impression that I am not much of a business executive material. In the exam, however, I found the IR questions to be quite decent with no significant number crunching and finished all of the 12 questions within 28min. Got 7 out of 8 in IR as per the unofficial score. So yeah, don't fret over it too much.

Should I retake?

Now, for the tough part... 1 week after the exam, I am still appalled at the imbalance in my scores. As much as I am happy with the overall score, I would have been more than willing to give up a few points in Verbal in exchange for a few on Quant. Now I am uncertain as to whether I should retake the exam to get a better balance of scores, given that I am targeting some of the top schools worldwide.

Factors working against the retake
- As mentioned earlier, I have a good overall quant background to establish my case and make up for the imbalance to some extent. I have been a mathematics topper all my life (received the highest marks in the world in Mathematics in my O'Levels and went on to major in Finance, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a CGPA of 3.90/4.00). I am also pursuing my CFA (already passed Level 2) which shows I will be able to handle the course material in MBA/ Masters in Finance whichever I choose.
- I have already invested significant time on this and am not sure if further time investment would be optimal to get a 20-30 point increase. Also, I have my CFA Level 3 exam coming up in June, which means I will only be able to prepare for the retake after June. This would be 3 months away from now and might mean I would have to start all over!

Factors working for the retake
Only factor working is I have made some silly mistakes in Quant and with some practice, I believe I can easily get a 20-30 point increase in the overall score with at least 80% in Quant.

So good people in this forum, I would like to ask you to share if anyone has been through a similar situation and your advice to me in this case. Should I continue with my applications with this imbalanced score if I am targeting top 10 US schools?

Hi Shajia,

I think they are good given all you have mentioned.

Now, after reading your whole post, there is always one conclusion after every few sentences...that you feel or you are sure that you can boost your quant score...and what is more important I understood that you feel ready right now to achieve it... moreover like literally day after exam if it was possible, or in other words after 16 days exam retake policy....so my question is, if you already have CFA level 3 exams waiting as you mention it, why wait to retake it after June, why not now in 2 weeks ? Did you though about it ?
Hi,

Thanks so much for your reply! I could retake now (or in 16days as you mentioned) but I feel I need a little bit of quant practice (especially in DS and more so from a time management perspective). But problem is that I do not have that time to spare at this moment (not even 2 weeks) as I am quite behind my CFA preparation schedule (was supposed to start studying in Feb). And with this job, it is not feasible for me to study for both. Hence, I can only retake after June I guess.

Sent from my SM-G950F using GMAT Club Forum mobile app
Intern
Joined: 12 Dec 2017
Posts: 3
Re: 700 in first attempt - Imbalanced score - Should I retake?  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

30 Mar 2018, 21:27
chanassss wrote:
Hi Shajia,

First of all, congratulations for your 700 score in your first attempt.
From my experience, you are able to reach a Q50. Your Q46 doesn’t mean that you cannot reach 50.

I got 580 (Q48-V23) and three weeks after 710 (Q50-V35).

So don’t hesitate, pick up another date and register for the test, try to have a confortable and enough sleep the day before... in my opinion you can reach 750.

Good luck!

Sent from my iPhone using GMAT Club Forum
Wow! The improvement in your scores in mere 3 weeks is really commendable. Congrats!
And thanks for your advice. I am only worried that I might not score as high in Verbal amd might end up with a similar score or a maximum 20 point increase. Would it be worth it then?

Sent from my SM-G950F using GMAT Club Forum mobile app
Re: 700 in first attempt - Imbalanced score - Should I retake?   [#permalink] 30 Mar 2018, 21:27
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# 700 in first attempt - Imbalanced score - Should I retake?

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