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Advice Please! 660 to 690/700?

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Advice Please! 660 to 690/700? [#permalink]

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New post 19 Sep 2017, 17:23
Hi everyone! The posts here are so encouraging and helpful that I thought I'd take the dive and ask for some advice myself!

I just took the GMAT and scored 660 - immediately canceled the score and hoping to take it within a month and 10 days (due to work constraints!) Bit about my journey:

I took a Manhattan GMAT prep class from April - June, but work was crazy (I love my job - I work in marketing for a large CPG company) and I ended up having to take calls during my class - so clearly, studying couldn't happen even when I was in class! After completing this test prep class, I took a diagnostic (yepp, no homework at all, it was a mess) and scored a 560. Yikes. Studied and did my syllabus for a month with all Manhattan guides. Took another MGMAT CAT after that month, scored a 550. OH NO!

Realized this exam was unlike any I've taken so I had to change my methods. I committed the next two months to genuinely studying each topic and having a good focused schedule - I signed up for EMPOWERGmat, and absolutely LOVED it. I could feel my strategies forming and learning fundamentals in a more efficient manner. Within a month of doing Empower, I took my first GMAT prep exam and scored a 670 - this gave me the confidence to sign up for the exam in a month's time. I continued with the program, scored a 640 on a MGMAT CAT, and then a 620. Worried, I took a week off before my actual exam so I could just focus on studying and take the exam. I took another GMAT prep test, scored 600. Felt a bit of panic. Reset both tests, got a 670 and a 640. Bought pack 1 and scored 600 and 650 on exam 3 and 4.

Took the real exam today and scored 660 (V38, Q42) - and I'm at an impasse. I know I must score at least a 680 when I take it again the last week of October, and I think a +20-+60 point increase is doable - but given the time constraints and that I've finished the entirety of my beloved EmpowerGMAT - not sure what to do. I think it's doable, but I know i have to study smart to increase these points - anyone have any pointers for what I should be focused on and what tools to use?

Thanks so much for your help in advance :)

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Re: Advice Please! 660 to 690/700? [#permalink]

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New post 19 Sep 2017, 18:27
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Definitely think a 20+ point increase is doable!

Since you already used MGMAT and EmpowerGMAT, I would be sure to review common question types that you got wrong. Looks like your V38 is pretty good, so you may want to focus on Quant since it is probably lower percentage-wise. I've read good reviews on Target Test Prep, which focuses on the Quant section. All in all, I think it's important to focus on understanding the basic Quant concepts so that you can apply them to all other question types. Best of luck!

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Re: Advice Please! 660 to 690/700? [#permalink]

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New post 19 Sep 2017, 19:23
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Hi CanDo1909,

First off, a 660 is a strong score (it's right around the 80th percentile overall), so it could be enough to get you into your first-choice School. As such, a retest might not be necessary. Depending on the Schools that you plan to apply to, you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile. There's a Forum full of them here:

http://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admission ... tants-124/

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. As such, this 660 could have very easily been a 690. With a Q42, you would have made a number of little mistakes in the Quant section and missed out on lots of 'strategy-based' points. If you do choose to retest though, then focusing on Quant Tactics would likely be all that you'd need to improve on to score 700+.

1) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
3) How do you know that you "need" a 680+?

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Advice Please! 660 to 690/700? [#permalink]

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New post 19 Sep 2017, 19:50
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Rich! Thank you so much for your response!

And more importantly, thank you for Empower - yours and Max's videos were absolutely incredible. They were comprehensive and easy to navigate - you boiled down math concepts (shout out to work formulas!) for difficult questions I most certainly didn't understand after my MGMAT course - similarly, Max made me realize how important Verbal is and what an opportunity it is. (Also quick tangent: the one time the website was down when 2018 stuff was being loaded and I panicked cause I was mapping literally each hour I was studying, my Empower advisor responded to me within a half hour, the website was up in an hour, and I was given an extra day! Amazing customer service, really) Lastly, your podcasts ALWAYS pumped me up, I truly felt cared about as one of Empower's students and structured with my 2 month syllabus - hence why I am a bit freaked out to be swimming towards 680-700 on my own without Empower's guidance and am a bit apprehensive that practicing alone the strategies I learned will help me improve.

As for the questions you posed, a quick overall context: I absolutely love my job and have become more grateful for it as I see people joining at my level post marketing programs at HBS, Wharton, and Kellog - as such, while I feel an MBA will be incredibly valuable to helping me develop as a leader and/or move to a different industry, it wouldn't be worth it to leave my company unless I could obtain acceptances at a Top 10 school. Having said that, my answers are as such:

1. When are you planning to apply to Business School? Ideally R2 for start in Fall 2018, so by January 2018 - however, I will be abroad for work for a while in November, so would need to take the exam by end of October.
2. What Schools are you planning to apply to? Wharton (top choice), HBS, LBS, Columbia, Insead, Oxford, LSE
3. How do you know that you "need" a 680+? Ah, caught me! Wouldn't say I know, but given I have only a month and ten days give or take, this seems the most realistic jump to make - from what I have gathered from and been advised from mentors at work (though obviously everything's speculation here), my marketing background/girl/age/business story (I have been beyond lucky at work to have been given some amazing opportunities to do some cool things) should make up for a not perfect ish score of 680 were I to apply to Wharton or LSE - but 660 may not cut it really :/

I feel it's possible, and I truly wish I hadn't spent a month reviewing MGMAT materials *after* my course and instead dedicated 3 months, not 2 months to Empower to have properly practiced the tactics for a month rather than learned all in 2. Ah well, spilt milk! I know there's a chance if I review quant some more with the strategies that I could pull up my score, but I am apprehensive of self study given hearing horror stories of scores dropping. Not sure if I should find a tutor for quant? Try pulling up verbal? Do the Empower score boost?

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate it. Empower was by far the best tool in this journey so far.

Last edited by CanDo1909 on 19 Sep 2017, 19:58, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Advice Please! 660 to 690/700? [#permalink]

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New post 19 Sep 2017, 19:53
bluemba thank you for the advice! I will check them out. And thanks so much for the good wishes - gonna need them!

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Re: Advice Please! 660 to 690/700? [#permalink]

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First of all you are lucky to get a 660 with a 670 and 600 in mocks . Usually you score around the average of your mocks. If your aim is 680+ you should never have cancelled a 660. Now the good part is your verbal is strong and it is difficult to improve in verbal. What i would suggest do the gmat club quizzes.Take a topic say algebra finish all the theory you have got. Do the 500 level questions in exam mode from that topic. Continue like this for all topics. You can easily improve from a 42 to 47-48 and that would land you a 700. All the best for any queries message me

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Advice Please! 660 to 690/700? [#permalink]

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Looks like your V38 is pretty good, so you may want to focus on Quant since it is probably lower percentage-wise.

I'm not sure if I agree with this; from what I've seen, it's generally easier to see more drastic increases in your overall score based on improvement in Verbal. So many people already do well in math but are less inclined towards verbal, and it's much rarer to see higher numbers for the latter. This is why it's easier to get in the higher percentiles in your Verbal section even if your raw score isn't as good as your Q score.

Case in point: I got a 680 on my first MGMAT CAT (45Q, 37V). On my next MGMAT CAT a week later, I shot up to a 740 based almost purely on doing better in Verbal (46Q, 45V).

I do agree that OP should also focus on Quant because a lot of schools do pay attention to section percentiles... but if their goal is to raise their overall score to 690/700, focusing on Verbal would still be recommended.

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Re: Advice Please! 660 to 690/700? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Sep 2017, 13:40
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Hi CanDo1909,

I've sent you a PM with some additional notes/suggestions.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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Re: Advice Please! 660 to 690/700? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Sep 2017, 19:05
premprabhs111 wrote:
First of all you are lucky to get a 660 with a 670 and 600 in mocks . Usually you score around the average of your mocks. If your aim is 680+ you should never have cancelled a 660. Now the good part is your verbal is strong and it is difficult to improve in verbal. What i would suggest do the gmat club quizzes.Take a topic say algebra finish all the theory you have got. Do the 500 level questions in exam mode from that topic. Continue like this for all topics. You can easily improve from a 42 to 47-48 and that would land you a 700. All the best for any queries message me


Thanks for your response and for your encouragement! I will absolutely focus on doing quant questions and work towards improving quant to 47-48. Eh, I wouldn't call it lucky - and I don't know about should never have cancelled - honestly, this is both an important goal of mine and also not a necessity yet - I'm willing to put in more work and hopefully with lots of practice and your good vibes you sent above, I'll get the score I want :) Thanks again!

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Re: Advice Please! 660 to 690/700? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Sep 2017, 19:09
jaewonton531 Thank you for your perspective! I think there's room to strengthen Verbal - I've scored up to 43 there, so I will endeavor to try that again - but will as you mentioned, as others stated as well, focus on quant for both a high score and a more balanced score. Awesome increase within a week! Woah! Thanks again for your insight here.

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Re: Advice Please! 660 to 690/700?   [#permalink] 20 Sep 2017, 19:09
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