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Advice around an optimal GMAT strategy

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New post 19 Jan 2019, 12:08
Dear GMAT Community,

I have been following this forum for the past few months and have found the insights it contains to be invaluable.

I was hoping to gather some advice with regards to the optimal GMAT strategy for my specific scenario. Thus far I have taken the two free official GMAT prep exams (from their official website) and got the following results:
- Test I (taken in Dec-18; no prep done before): 730 score / Q46 / V44 / IR 8
- Test II (taken recently; have done 1 week of work beforehand comprising primarily of going through the harder quant questions posted on this website): 740 score / Q49 / V41 / IR 8

I would like to target my GMAT score to be around 750 and was hoping that I could tap into the wisdom of the forum members to help me craft the most time-efficient strategy to get there. Getting a good score is important to me and I understand that some of the good prep resources available out there need to be paid for (which I would gladly do, if it will help); the main area of focus for me at this stage is to maximize time-to-value, which would allow me to get GMAT done without boiling the ocean and to focus on the other facets of the MBA application as soon as possible.

Any friendly pointers, advice, or guidance would be very much appreciated!

Thank you!
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New post 19 Jan 2019, 14:28
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Hi orange1

There are a few ways in which you could go about increasing your GMAT score.

You could go the comprehensive route, in which you would seek to learn more about all aspect of the GMAT and thoroughly learn from the ground up how to answer all kinds of GMAT questions.

You could seek to drive your score up point by point by focusing on question types in which you are least strong one by one.

You could use an approach that is a blend of the above two approaches.

My call is that, given what you have done so far and your practice test scores, you would be best off using an approach that leans toward the first of the three, an approach like the following.

For quant, go through the two practice tests that you have taken and see what came between you and scoring Q51. To do so, consider the questions that you didn't get correct and why you didn't get them correct, and also look at all the other questions to see which you were the most and least comfortable answering.

After having done this work, you should have a sense of what you could focus on in order to increase your quant score.

For every type of question that you are not really comfortable answering, you should learn all about how to answer questions of that that type and then answer dozens of questions of that type, getting to a point such that you are sure that, if you see such a question on the actual GMAT, you will answer it correctly.

Given that you have scored Q46 and Q49, my guess is that by focusing on 10 question types in which you are not particularly strong now, you could get to Q51. That 10 would be sufficient is not guaranteed, obviously, but by becoming super good at answering questions of 10 types that you are not strong in now, you should make a huge difference in your performance, for two reasons. One is that, on future tests, you will get questions of those types correct. The other is that, when taking a test, you will answer questions of those types quickly, leaving yourself a lot more time to figure out how to answer any other questions that you see.

So, the key in quant is topic by topic practice, to drive your score up point by point.

OK, now for verbal.

In verbal, it appears that currently the sophistication of your approach to answering verbal questions is putting you in the low to mid 40's. However, people often score lower in verbal on the real GMAT than they do on practice tests, because in doing even a small amount of verbal training, people pick up on patterns that they can use to answer practice test verbal questions but that don't work for answering questions on the actual GMAT, questions that contain new twists. So, since you want to score 750+ on the GMAT, you have to make sure that your approach to answering verbal questions is sophisticated enough that you will score at least 41 on the real test and, hopefully, higher.

So, what's the approach to use?

You could do the following.

Getting verbal questions correct is a matter of what you know, what you see, and what you do. So, your next move could be to go through your practice tests and, for any verbal question that you didn't get correct, ask yourself what you didn't know, what you needed to see, and what you needed to do differently in order to correctly, rather than incorrectly, answer that question.

Armed with that information, you could then do verbal practice questions, slowly and carefully, seeking to see what you have to see and do what you have to do in order to choose the correct answers rather than tricky trap answers. You goal should be to answer all practice questions correctly and to refine your approach. So, practice SLOWLY. There is no point answering them incorrectly in two minutes each. Just get them correct, and for EVERY CHOICE in every question, seek to define EXACTLY and thoroughly why that choice is incorrect or correct. The point is to learn to go well beyond choosing what sounds right to using sophisticated, logical reasons for making the choices you are making. You need to develop skill in defining why choices are correct or incorrect. Only by doing so will you consistently score high in GMAT verbal, in which the questions are full of tricky traps.

Once you have worked on a bunch of quant question types and improved your verbal skills significantly, you can take another practice test to see where you stand. If you spend around two days per quant question type and do some verbal work at the same time, you should have made great progress in a few weeks. If you don't hit your score goal comfortably on that next test, then continue in the same way, topic by topic work in quant and thorough, careful answering and analysis of verbal questions. With that type of work, you are pretty much guaranteed to hit your score goal efficiently. If somehow you are not seeing the results that you want, you can come back here and get some ideas on how to adjust what you are doing.
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Re: Advice around an optimal GMAT strategy  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2019, 20:01
Congratulations on the two very impressive scores! With a Q49+ and a V46+ you're looking at the 99th percentile, it's just a matter of putting those scores together in the same test. In terms of bang for your buck, doing a paid course and focussing on the difficult questions will probably help you the most. Efficient GMAT test taking strategies can make all the difference, especially around timing etc. I personally recommend EmpowerGMAT, though you might want to tailor it given you're already at such a high level.

It might also be worth considering a tutor who scored 750+ to spend a few hours going through the mistakes you made on your pracs and building a study plan tailored for scoring in the high 700's. Good luck!
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Re: Advice around an optimal GMAT strategy  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2019, 04:44
orange1 wrote:
Dear GMAT Community,

I have been following this forum for the past few months and have found the insights it contains to be invaluable.

I was hoping to gather some advice with regards to the optimal GMAT strategy for my specific scenario. Thus far I have taken the two free official GMAT prep exams (from their official website) and got the following results:
- Test I (taken in Dec-18; no prep done before): 730 score / Q46 / V44 / IR 8
- Test II (taken recently; have done 1 week of work beforehand comprising primarily of going through the harder quant questions posted on this website): 740 score / Q49 / V41 / IR 8

I would like to target my GMAT score to be around 750 and was hoping that I could tap into the wisdom of the forum members to help me craft the most time-efficient strategy to get there. Getting a good score is important to me and I understand that some of the good prep resources available out there need to be paid for (which I would gladly do, if it will help); the main area of focus for me at this stage is to maximize time-to-value, which would allow me to get GMAT done without boiling the ocean and to focus on the other facets of the MBA application as soon as possible.

Any friendly pointers, advice, or guidance would be very much appreciated!

Thank you!


Hi orange1,

First of all, congratulations on a fantastic scores on your mocks. It is indeed commendable. I think to achieve your target of 750+ you should focus your preps on Quant ad try for Q50+ as your Verbal seems great. If you are particularly looking to discover and improve on your weak areas in Quant; a subscription to GMATCLUB tests is the best way to do that. They are indeed phenomenal and will not only pinpoint your weak areas but also help you improve on them.

Further taking multiple mocks might help. Apart from the GMATPREP, Manhattan GMAT tests and Veritas Prep Tests in my experience have good verbal and Quant section and will certainly help you point out and improve your weak areas.

Further another advantage of taking many mocks is to build up your stamina. Apart from the GMATPREP tests, taking practice tests of any major GMATPREP company ought to do that.

Lastly I would also encourage you to purchase the latest version of OG and the Quant review for some great additional practice.

Hope this helps. All the best.
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New post 25 Jan 2019, 01:37
Hi, orange1

Welcome to GMAT Club. I’m glad to hear that you got pretty high scores on your prep test. To briefly analyze your scores, your verbal score dropped and quant was improved though your total score went up. Considering that you have taken only two prep tests, it is difficult to predicate that swings or fluctuation on your score exists right now. Your official test results could be also different from these prep tests.

By the way, it seems that you have solid establishment of math given the fact that getting Q49-51 is difficult without a lot of efforts. It is true that only one week of work is not enough to hit the score over 49-51 for most people, but you made it. This means that it could be easier for you to hit Q51 than other people. It’s your choice to plan a studying strategy, but I recommend you to focus on Quant part, considering your potential. You can get around 750 if you mark Q51 and V41. Improving both verbal and quant could be time-consuming. You’d better pick either one and craft your study plan. Here are some tips to hit the score Q51.

Q51 requires another level of quant skill and also luck. The hardest DS questions determine a score of Q51. These questions are very time consuming and still hard to get them correct, if you solve them in conventional ways. In our course, these questions are so called "CMT 3,4 (common mistake type). If you learn CMT 3,4, you can tackle hard and hardest DS questions easily. Time management is also essential when solving these.
Also, refer to this article featured in GMAT Club "How to Achieve Q51" : https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-ultimate ... 09801.html

Get some tips here: https://www.mathrevolution.com/board/li ... thGuidance

Please let us know if you have further questions.
You can reach us at info@mathrevolution.com

Success is within your reach,
Good luck!
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Re: Advice around an optimal GMAT strategy  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2019, 10:53
Hi orange1,

Welcome to gmatclub!

Official questions are the best you can find. Check this post:That official GMAT question might cost $3000

You can find the question bank from the free CATs here:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/all-gmatprep ... 87679.html
https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-most-com ... 40372.html

I would also buy exam packs 2-6 and the official question bank.

You can find questions from all OG versions in the OG master directory:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmac-officia ... 40610.html
The new questions are marked with *.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Advice around an optimal GMAT strategy   [#permalink] 25 Jan 2019, 10:53
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