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Joined: 02 Feb 2018
Posts: 36
jjj  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 02 Mar 2019, 12:50
Hi all,

Originally posted by barryseal on 26 Dec 2018, 06:13.
Last edited by barryseal on 02 Mar 2019, 12:50, edited 2 times in total.
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Concentration: Finance, Marketing
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GMAT 1: 700 Q51 V31
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Re: jjj  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2018, 08:22
Top Contributor
Hi Barry,

From Quant perspective: Looking at your ESR I would recommend to do the following topics in sequence:

Number properties
Ratios, Rates and Percentages
Geometry and Co-ordinate geometry
Inequality and Absolute Values

Take each topic and revise the theory and try solving 600 level problems first and if you do well then move on to 700 level. Focus mostly on 600 level both PS and DS (PS first then DS). Once you do all these topics, with revision and problem solving for other topics, then you will be able to not only improve your hit rate but also your timing issue if any in general. IF you are running short of time then hire a personal tutor and work with her/him on these topics to get through the list quickly.

Hope it helps!

barryseal wrote:
Hi all,

I recently had my third GMAT attempt and right now I'm trying to figure out the smartest way to study for my fourth attempt:
-Most importantly, I'm looking for ways to improve my quant score to 50 (because its a hard requirement for my desired finance master and for some other reasons) and I've been stuck on q49 for quite some time now
-Analysis of my ESR; I also stated some specific questions regarding my ESR further below
-Anything else that comes to your mind reading my post

Thanks a lot!

My Gmat story 2018 so far:
-Jan-Apr: ca. 15h/week; May+June ca. 50h/week; material mostly PS benchmark problems from a university GMAT coach and OG 18 + Review Quant and Verbal; OG 1 710 (Q49, V48), OG 2 670 (Q47, V35), OG 3 760 (Q50, V44, I messed sth up re resetting so I saw ca. 5-7 quant questions that I solved before), OG 4 740 (Q50, V40)
-First exam End of June: 670 Q46 V36 -> I had serious timing issues in quant because I got stuck on questions that I'm normally able to solve but wasn't ready to move on after 2-3min trying -> had only 4mins for last 4 questions what really hurt my score I think; motivation for verbal went a bit down after quant part because I knew that it wouldn't be a q50 and that I don't accept a score without q50 so I might have lost 1-2 verbal score points because of that
-Jul+Aug: No study at all (internship)
-Sep + Okt: ca. 50h/week; tried to push quant score with magoosh and manhattan, SC with magoosh and CR with powerscorebible; OG 5 720 (Q48, V41), OG 6 750 (Q49, V44)
-Second exam End of October: 700 Q49 V36 -> Same problem as first exam re quant: wasn't ready to let questions go because I always had q50 in my mind and got into timing issues towards the end; verbal same problem as above as well (I don't know why it took me two and not one exam to not do the same mistakes twice )
-After my second exam I took a step back and really tried to give honest and rigorous feedback to myself: I didn't feel so comfortable with algebra, inequality, exponents and roots questions (especially DS), intuition for geometry questions and time management in quant. Also, I noticed that studying OG questions in detail is way more effective than going through the next theory book
-Nov-Mid Dec: ca. 35h/week: I worked on my identified weaknesses by doing all GMAT club test questions thoroughly which really helped me a lot in regards to thinking about the fastest approach first, shortcuts (I solve easy and medium questions much faster now) and tackling algebra/inequality/exponents and roots questions
-Third exam Mid Dec: 710 Q48, V40 -> Quant went subjectively pretty well (new time management strategy worked very well; was able to solve first 8 questions in roughly 11 mins so had 5 extra mins for harder questions; didn't use more than 3mins on any questions; however, had to guess 3 questions because they were too hard) -> motivation for verbal was very high because at that moment I thought I might have a shot at q50

Q48 was obviously a disappointment then. I feel like I'm much better at solving quant questions now compared to my second exam (Q49) so I definitely want to retake the exam mid Jan

I attached my ESR:
-It looks like there is room for improvement re Reading comprehension
-Which CR question types fall under the category "analysis/critique"?
-Which RC question types fall under the category "identify inferred idea"?

So far, I would like to work on the following topics
-Get even more comfortable with algebra/inequality/exponents and roots -> GMAT exam question pack and GMAT club forum
-Really work on my geometry skills (especially DS) -> GMAT club forum
-RC and the CR "analysis/critique" category

Anything else you infer from my ESR? Also, I appreciate any hint on how to get to q50 in general; I really don't understand how so many people are able to score 50 or 51 and I just can't do it yet although I'm 100% willing to put in the work. I feel like more theory won't help me at this point anymore and that I have to focus even more on thinking about alternative approaches and solving easy/medium questions faster so that I can invest more time when I face a hard question, dont know the best approach and have to go the long way.

Best regards

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Re: jjj  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Dec 2018, 05:28
Hi barryseal,

Congratulations on scoring 710! It is a good score even if it isn't your target score.

The skills listed in performance by skills are more about types of questions than skills/topics themselves. The description for this as given in the ESR is:
    1. The Critical Reasoning Analysis/Critique graph displays the percentage of questions answered correctly. Problems in this category test your ability to analyze the information given to you in the passage and carefully make reasoned judgments demonstrated by evaluating and breaking down an argument.
    2. The Reading Comprehension Identify Inferred Ideas graph displays the percentage of questions answered correctly. These section reflects your ability to comprehend what a passage implies but does not explicitly mention. The questions test the ability to draw inferences from or about information, statements or ideas.

Your score suggests a fairly good understanding of concepts and their application process. To improve from here on you just need to fine-tune your performance by identifying the topic level weaknesses and working upon them systematically. You may use these Ability Quizzes (Quant Ability Quiz | Verbal Ability Quiz) to identify the topic level weaknesses. Here are a few success stories that you might find helpful:
    - Learn how Priyansh improved from 710 to 760 in just 1 month. Click here to read her de-brief. This enabled her to secure an admit from Darden with full fellowship.
    - Akshay improved from a 700 to 750 with 10 days of dedicated preparation. Click here to watch his video interview and learn how he achieved this.
    - Raghav improved from 700 to 760. Click here to watch his video interview.

Hope this helps! Please feel free to reach out to us at for any further queries regarding GMAT.

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Re: jjj  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Dec 2018, 18:37
Hi Barry,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. So, regarding your ESR, it’s clear that you did not score well in Geometry; however, you really need to take the information from your ESR with a grain of salt. Remember, your ESR is based on only 31 quant questions. So, for example, does your scoring 100% in Counting/Sets/Series mean that you are devoid of weaknesses in those topics? Not necessarily. To improve from a Q48 to a Q50, ensure that you are following a study routine that allows you to go through ALL of GMAT quant 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. 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.

For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, 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. 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. Furthermore, you not only will improve your quant knowledge but also will get faster at solving easy/medium/hard GMAT quant questions. So, just focus on improving your skills for now; from there, speed will come.

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. 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.

Regarding verbal, you are in a similar situation as with quant. Once again, you must understand that since the ESR is such a small sample size, you cannot overinfer as to what your weaknesses are. Rather than spending countless hours trying to find “analysis/critique” CR questions or “identify inferred idea” RC questions, spend time reviewing all aspects of RC and CR, so you will be ready for anything the GMAT throws your way on test day.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.

Let’s do this!!

Scott Woodbury-Stewart

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Re: jjj   [#permalink] 29 Dec 2018, 18:37
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