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A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!

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A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 22 Feb 2019, 23:22
Today has to be one of the worst days of my life. I scored just 630 on the GMAT - Q47 and V28. I belong to the over represented applicant pool - the Indian IT male, so I aimed for something above 730 or 740. My first GMAT attempt was at the end of 2017 and I scored 660 - Q49 and V34. Started the prep again in 2018 July. Verbal was the weak link so I took the E-Gmat verbal course and felt comfortable with verbal section, particularly SC, upon completion of the course. I started solving lot of questions from Gmatclub and decided to take mocks once I felt I was ready. Below were my mock scores

Gmat mock 1 - 680 - Q48 and V35
Veritas Prep Mock 1 - 710 - Q51 and V36 (High quant score is because the three answers(700+) that I guessed in quants turned out to be correct)
Veritas Prep Mock 2 - 710 - Q50 and V38 (No guessing game)
Economist free mock - 770 - Q50 and V44
Gmat mock 2 - 770 - Q49 and V47 (A couple of questions from verbal were repeat, hence the high verbal score)

Upon seeing the above mock test scores, I thought I was ready for the GMAT and gave the exam today. Exam went fine and timing was not an issue as I completed both the sections with 1.5 minutes to spare. When I clicked to see my final score, a dismal score of 630 flashed at me and the whole world seemed to stop for a second. Took a couple of seconds to digest the reality and cancelled the score in a blink.

I've gone through our acclaimed GMATNinja's 7 reasons why GMAT score is lower than mocks and found three of the mentioned points, to my knowledge, to accurately resonate with me. Below are those points:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topic-of-the-week-8-9-17-7-reasons-why-your-gmat-score-fell-246658.html

Reason #2: you’re repeating the GMATPrep practice tests
Reason #3: you’re repeating the GMATPrep questions
Reason #4: your test-prep materials are based on GMATPrep questions

Having said the above, I request experts and fellow members to pitch and guide me how to improve my score above 700. How should I structure my preparation? Thanks for taking time to read the post and thanks in advance for your responses.

PS: Will attach the ESR once I get it.

Edit: Attaching my ESR.

Cheers!
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Originally posted by Diwakar003 on 18 Feb 2019, 07:18.
Last edited by Diwakar003 on 22 Feb 2019, 23:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Feb 2019, 08:29
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Hi Diwakar003.

From your practice test scores and your score on the actual GMAT, we can tell that you have two projects to complete in order to hit your GMAT score goal. One of them is to get a few more points in quant. The other is to significantly change what you have going on in verbal.

Let's start with quant.

Since you were able to hit Q47 on your previous attempt, there is no reason why, with some further prep, you cannot hit Q50 or Q51. Clearly, you don’t need to go back and learn the foundations of GMAT quant; however, you still should engage in a process of linear learning and focused practice to find and fill any gaps in your quant knowledge and strengthen any weaker areas to drive your expected quant score higher point by point.

In order to do so, you could identify weak areas by reviewing your practice tests to find questions that you weren't sure how to answer or took a long time to answer and by doing some introspection to determine which types of quant questions you would prefer not to see when you take the test. For each weaker area, you would review the concepts used in answering that type of question and then practice by answering questions of that type until you are totally comfortable answering questions of that type.

For example, if you were to find that you are not strong in overlapping sets, you would review all the concepts related to and basics of answering overlapping sets questions and then practice by answering 50 or more questions just from overlapping sets, starting off answering them slowing and speeding up as you become more comfortable. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a three sets question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply a 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 improve your GMAT quant skills. Overlapping sets is just one example; you would follow this process for all quant topics in which your are not currently strong.

You can see why using such a process would be effective. 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 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.

For more on how to increase your quant score, you could read this article. How To Increase Your GMAT Quant Score

OK, now for verbal.

As what you said suggests, it seems likely that your verbal score on the actual GMAT was lower than your verbal scores on your practice tests, because, rather than truly learn how to answer GMAT verbal questions, in your prep, you picked up on some patterns that you could use to answer verbal questions on practice tests. Since the questions that you saw on the actual GMAT did not fit those patterns, and may even have been written to trap test-takers who attempt to use those patterns, your verbal score on the actual test was lower than your verbal scores on practice tests. So, clearly, a key aspect of the path to your score goal is to learn how to actually answer GMAT verbal questions.

In order for you to do so, let's first talk about what GMAT verbal actually tests.

Each level of verbal score indicates a level of sophistication of verbal thinking. So, to make your verbal score increase, you have to increase the level of sophistication of the thinking that you are bringing to bear when answering GMAT verbal questions. So, you won't get higher-level verbal questions correct by training to use basic strategies or look for patterns. You have to learn to use more sophisticated approaches.

One can score in the upper 20's to low 30's in verbal by using some simple strategies, such as looking for grammar issues in Sentence Correction answer choices and eliminating extreme or seemingly irrelevant choices in Critical Reasoning questions. At the same time. there is no way to consistently get verbal questions correct by using such strategies. Questions above a certain difficulty level become too sophisticated for such strategies to work. Sentence Correction questions can have multiple choices that are basically grammatically flawless. More difficult Critical Reasoning questions have correct answers that may seem unrelated to the arguments presented. Reading comprehension questions have multiple answers that are very similar and seem to match what the passage says.

So to prep for verbal you have to train to clearly see what's going on in the questions and answer choices. The way to learn to see what's going on in the questions and answer choices is to learn the basics of answering each type of question and then very carefully and slowly analyze question after question, learning to clearly define why each wrong answer is wrong and each correct answer is correct.

Now, here are some tips on how to work on each type of verbal question.

For 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 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. You can perfect your reading strategy with a lot of practice, but keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to tackle such passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as the Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction is a bit different from 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, you likely 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.

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.

You also may find this article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Enjoy the game!
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Re: A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Feb 2019, 09:08
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MartyTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi Diwakar003.

From your practice test scores and your score on the actual GMAT, we can tell that you have two projects to complete in order to hit your GMAT score goal. One of them is to get a few more points in quant. The other is to significantly change what you have going on in verbal.

Enjoy the game!


Hey MartyTargetTestPrep

Couldn't thank you enough for putting such a detailed plan for me to follow. After going through what you've said, I think there are a couple of areas I need to target. I am going to work on my prep in the way you have suggested. Your post is going to be my bible till my next GMAT. Thank you once again for taking time to write such a detailed plan to follow.

Cheers!
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Re: A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Feb 2019, 12:52
Hi Diwakar003,

I'm sorry to hear that Test Day didn't go as well as planned. When these types of score drops occur, the two likely "causes" involve either something that was unrealistic during practice or something that was surprising (or not accounted for) on Test Day. If you can answer a few questions, then we should be able to figure this out:

When you took your CATs:
1) On what dates did you take each of your CATs and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for each)?
2) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
3) Did you take them at home?
4) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
5) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
6) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE (re: on a prior CAT, in an online forum or in a practice set)?

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 (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,
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Re: A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Feb 2019, 00:32
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Diwakar003,

If you can answer a few questions, then we should be able to figure this out:



Hey EMPOWERgmatRichC

Firstly, thanks a lot for taking time to read my post and trying to help me out.

Please find my answers to your questions.
1) On what dates did you take each of your CATs and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for each)?
- Please find the dates with the score breakdown below.
* Gmat mock 1 - Dec 4, 2018 - 680 - Q48 and V35
* Veritas Mock 1 - Dec 13, 2018 - 640 - Q45 and V33
* Economist free mock - Jan 12, 2018 - 770 - Q50 and V44
* Veritas Mock 2 - Jan 24, 2019 - 710 - Q51 and V36
* Gmat mock 2 - Feb 10, 2019 - 770 - Q49 and V47 (A couple of repeat questions in verbal section)
* Veritas Mock 3 - Feb 16, 2019 - 710 - Q50 and V38
* Official GMAT - Feb 18, 2019 - 630 - Q47 and V28, IR - 7

2) Did you take the ENTIRE CAT each time (including the Essay and IR sections)?
- I took only Quants and Verbal in most of the mocks. However, I took essay and IR sections in each of the GMAT official mocks.

3) Did you take them at home?
- Yes, I did take the tests at my home.

4) Did you take them at the same time of day as when you took your Official GMAT?
- Yes, I took the tests in the same time as I did my Official GMAT

5) Did you ever do ANYTHING during your CATs that you couldn't do on Test Day (pause the CAT, skip sections, take longer breaks, etc.)?
- No, I did not do anything that I am not supposed to do on my Official GMAT. If I took a mock, I would do the complete Quants and Verbal with 5 minutes of break in between the sections. I tried to mimic the actual testing scenario as much as possible.

6) Did you ever take a CAT more than once? Had you seen any of the questions BEFORE (re: on a prior CAT, in an online forum or in a practice set)?
- Yes, I took one official mock more than once.
- In GMATClub, after realising most of the questions in GMAT club aren’t representative of the official questions, I developed the habit of selecting OG questions and solving them. So in the official mocks tests and other tests, the pattern of some questions were very familiar and I was able to solve them correctly. I highly doubt whether I would’ve correctly solved such questions in mock without doing similar practice questions.

Quote:
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 (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


I will be buying the ESR for sure and will upload it to my post. I will be more than happy if you can take your precious time to analyze my ESR and guide me. Thanks in advance, Rich!.

Cheers!
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New post 19 Feb 2019, 00:53
Diwakar003 wrote:
PS: Will attach the ESR once I get it.

Hi Diwakar, do you have your ESR yet that you can share with us?
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Re: A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Feb 2019, 01:29
EducationAisle wrote:
Diwakar003 wrote:
PS: Will attach the ESR once I get it.

Hi Diwakar, do you have your ESR yet that you can share with us?


Hello EducationAisle

Thanks for your reply. I have purchased the code to unlock/redeem the ESR but the link to apply the code isn't active yet. I'll surely upload the ESR once I get it.

Cheers!
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Re: A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2019, 21:13
Diwakar003 wrote:
Gmat mock 1 - 680 - Q48 and V35
Veritas Prep Mock 1 - 710 - Q51 and V36 (High quant score is because the three answers(700+) that I guessed in quants turned out to be correct)
Veritas Prep Mock 2 - 710 - Q50 and V38 (No guessing game)
Economist free mock - 770 - Q50 and V44
Gmat mock 2 - 770 - Q49 and V47 (A couple of questions from verbal were repeat, hence the high verbal score)
You don't seem to have taken the paid GMATPreps yet. If that is indeed the case, you really should take one of those tests as soon as you can.
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Re: A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2019, 21:58
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AjiteshArun wrote:
Diwakar003 wrote:
Gmat mock 1 - 680 - Q48 and V35
Veritas Prep Mock 1 - 710 - Q51 and V36 (High quant score is because the three answers(700+) that I guessed in quants turned out to be correct)
Veritas Prep Mock 2 - 710 - Q50 and V38 (No guessing game)
Economist free mock - 770 - Q50 and V44
Gmat mock 2 - 770 - Q49 and V47 (A couple of questions from verbal were repeat, hence the high verbal score)
You don't seem to have taken the paid GMATPreps yet. If that is indeed the case, you really should take one of those tests as soon as you can.


Hey AjiteshArun

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I haven't taken the paid GMATPrep tests. I have started my prep with a completely different approach, similar to the one mentioned in above posts. I will be taking the test as soon as I feel I have a good strategy at place.

Cheers!
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Re: A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2019, 23:24
Hi Diwakar003,

I've sent you a PM with some additional questions.

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New post 22 Feb 2019, 23:23
Diwakar003 wrote:

PS: Will attach the ESR once I get it.

Cheers!


Hello MartyTargetTestPrep EMPOWERgmatRichC EducationAisle AjiteshArun

The link to activate my ESR was finally available now and I'm attaching my ESR to the original post. I would be very happy if you experts could take a moment and provide your valuable insights and analysis of my ESR, showing me the way forward in my prep. Thanks in advance!

Cheers!
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New post 23 Feb 2019, 10:38
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Diwakar003 wrote:
The link to activate my ESR was finally available now and I'm attaching my ESR to the original post. I would be very happy if you experts could take a moment and provide your valuable insights and analysis of my ESR, showing me the way forward in my prep. Thanks in advance!

Cheers!

Hi Diwakar003.

Regarding verbal, you ESR indicates that what you did to prepare for SC did not work, and did not result in your developing skill in seeing the key aspects of choices that define why incorrect choices are incorrect and correct choices are correct.

Specifically, you may have learned some grammar rules, but the fact that you got only 40% of Communication focused Sentence Correction questions correct indicates that you have not learned to identify meaning related issues in sentence versions.

So, it becomes even more clear that, as I suggested before, you have to carefully analyze dozens of official SC questions to train yourself to more clearly define what makes incorrect answers incorrect and correct answers correct.

Regarding quant, you can see for yourself that the ESR indicates that you got only 50 percent of the questions in each of three areas correct. So, you have many weaker areas that you could strengthen to drive your quant score higher. The ESR provides only broad categories to consider. So, you would have to do some work on your own to determine what specific areas to work on. At the same time, having some awareness of what often trips up test-takers, I am guessing that you might have room for improvement in sequence and series, inequalities and absolute value, and overlapping sets, and you might want to work on your algebraic translation skills.
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Re: A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Feb 2019, 12:11
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MartyTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi Diwakar003.

Regarding verbal, you ESR indicates that what you did to prepare for SC did not work, and did not result in your developing skill in seeing the key aspects of choices that define why incorrect choices are incorrect and correct choices are correct.

Specifically, you may have learned some grammar rules, but the fact that you got only 40% of Communication focused Sentence Correction questions correct indicates that you have not learned to identify meaning related issues in sentence versions.

So, it becomes even more clear that, as I suggested before, you have to carefully analyze dozens of official SC questions to train yourself to more clearly define what makes incorrect answers incorrect and correct answers correct.

Regarding quant, you can see for yourself that the ESR indicates that you got only 50 percent of the questions in each of three areas correct. So, you have many weaker areas that you could strengthen to drive your quant score higher. The ESR provides only broad categories to consider. So, you would have to do some work on your own to determine what specific areas to work on. At the same time, having some awareness of what often trips up test-takers, I am guessing that you might have room for improvement in sequence and series, inequalities and absolute value, and overlapping sets, and you might want to work on your algebraic translation skills.



Hey MartyTargetTestPrep

Thanks a lot for your reply. I'll keep all the points mentioned by you in mind while I prepare for the next attempt.

Cheers!
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Re: A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Feb 2019, 15:39
Hi Diwakar003,

I've analyzed your ESR and sent you a PM with some notes/suggestions.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!   [#permalink] 23 Feb 2019, 15:39
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A dissappointing 630 - Need expert's guidance! Thanks in advance!

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