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Any chance I could improve my score or should I apply with a 620?

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New post 29 Nov 2019, 14:26
Hi, I recently wrote the GMAT, but, unfortunately, I didn't achieve the score I expected - it's 620, Q38/V38, IR 6 (not sure about AWA yet). As I do not have a very good GPA and a 620 is not enough to compensate it, I am thinking about retaking it.

I studied for about 2,5 months, learned the theory from the ManhattanPrep books and practised with the questions from the Official Guide, Verbal Review, Quant Review.

First GMAT-Practice Test: 420 (did absolutely nothing for the GMAT before the mock test, though)
ManPrep #1: 590
ManPrep #2: 610
ManPrep #3: 630
ManPrep #4: 620
ManPrep #5 & #6: 590
Second GMAT-Practice Test: 640
On the real GMAT: 620.


Do you think I can improve myself? Honestly, the whole preparation was quite hard and exhausting to me, especially Quant (was always not too good in maths). I could retake the test in 3 weeks or in the middle of January (after that, it's too late to apply to most programmes I am interested in). But 3 weeks seem way too short to me to learn something new.

Is there still some chance to improve or should I just try to apply to the b-schools/universities with a 620? The rest of my profile: just finished my bachelor's degree in finance & accounting at one of the best schools in Germany, did quite some good internships at huge, well-kown companies and banks (also in another country), did an exchange semester and also some voluntary work. I am interested in master programmes in finance (but also accounting or management is fine) in Europe.

If yes, what should I do? Just practice, practice, practice? Unfortunately, I do not really have any weaknesses - in all of the fields I sometimes do well, sometimes I don't. (talking about Quant)

One more question: does it make sense to retake the GMAT after I applied to some schools? Can I somehow submit my new (hopefully better) score?

Thank you very much in advance! Hope someone can help me :)
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New post 29 Nov 2019, 14:33
Hi roxor999,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your CAT score results - along with your Official Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 610 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also make certain consistent mistakes.

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How many hours did you typically study each week?
2) On what dates did you take EACH of your CATs/mocks and how did you score on EACH (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
3) What is your overall goal score?
4) What specific Schools are you planning to apply to?
5) What are the exact application deadlines that you are facing?

Since you've asked some Admissions questions, you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile. There's a Forum full of those Experts here:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/ask-admissio ... tants-124/

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 on Test Day (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

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New post 29 Nov 2019, 16:09
Hi Rich, thank you for your answer!

I studied on average 20h a week (probably not very effectively, hence the score).

First official GMAT-Mock test: 30 Aug 2019; 410 (Q24/V23)
ManPrep 1: 18 Oct 2019; 590 (Q38/V34)
ManPrep 2: 16 Nov 2019; 630 (Q41/V35)
ManPrep 3: 18 Nov 2019; 620 (Q42/V33)
ManPrep 4: 20 Nov 2019; 620 (Q40/V35)
ManPrep 5: 23 Nov 2019; 590 (Q39/V33)
ManPrep 6: 25 Nov 2019; 590 (Q35/V35)
Second GMAT-Mock test: 26 Nov 2019; 640 (Q41/V38)

I doubt that a +700 is possible, but I would like to achieve at least a 650. Or would an even higher score be possible?

I am interested in various master programmes in Northern and Western Europe. Rotterdam, Stockholm School of Economics, Bocconi, St. Gallen are probably not possible, but maybe some other schools.

Middle-End of January 2020 for my most desired programmes, but for some other school I have time until the middle of February.

For one school the deadline is the beginning of January. The minimum for the GMAT (what the programme requires) is 600, but I'm still not sure if my profile will be enough. Maybe it would be possible to achieve a higher score if I will write it in 3 weeks again? If yes, how should I proceed?

Thanks!
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New post 30 Nov 2019, 12:40
Hi roxor999,

To start, a CAT is really a 'measuring device' - when used correctly, it will give you a realistic score and help define your strengths and weaknesses, but it will NOT help you to fix any of those weaknesses. To raise your scores, you have to learn the necessary Tactics and put in the proper practice and repetitions. The CAT will show you whether your studies are helping you to improve or not. From the information that you provided, you took 6 CATs in the 10 days before your Official GMAT - so it's not surprising that all of those Scores - and your Official Score - are so similar to one another. You spent too much time taking CATs and not enough time improving your skills. Going forward, you really shouldn't take more than 1 FULL CAT per week.

To score significantly higher, you will need to put in the necessary training time to learn and practice the proper Tactics. You could potentially hit 650+ with another 3 weeks of study, but you will have to make some significant changes to how you 'see' (and respond to) the Quant section. To Score 700+ though, you will likely need at least another 2 months of consistent, guided study.

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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New post 01 Dec 2019, 05:25
I totally agree that doing so many CATs in a short time wasn’t the smartest thing to do.

As I will start an internship only next spring, I can easily dedicate 20-25hours a week for the GMAT, maybe even more. I just need a good plan how to use this free time.

What would be the best way to study so I could potentially score in the high 600s, maybe even +700 in two-three months? With what should I practice if I did all the questions from the original guides already? Do them again? Use other sources, such as this forum?

Again, thank you for your help, I appreciate it!

Posted from my mobile device
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New post 01 Dec 2019, 19:35
Hi roxor999,

Since your last practice CAT/mock (on November 26th) had a similar result relative to your Official Score, we can use that CAT as a reference point for what you should be focused on going forward.

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix'). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your last CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

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New post 02 Dec 2019, 13:35
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

1) I did 3-4 questions wrong because of a stupid mistake (only Quant)
2) Did most of the Quant questions wrong because I simply did not know what to do (I did 14 Quant questions in total incorrect)
3) 2-3 Quant questions where I might have known the idea behind the question but it was simply too hard
4) In every CAT (and also the real test) I managed the time quite well
5) I would say that I narrowed down almost all verbal questions (7 wrong verbal questions in total)

Hope this helps to evaluate how I should continue studying
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New post 02 Dec 2019, 20:27
Hi roxor999,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. The good news is that your actual GMAT score was right in line with your practice test scores, so it seems that you performed to your ability level on test day. Regarding your path forward, I agree that it may be difficult to make significant improvements in your quant score in just 3 weeks. Does your current GMAT score hit the averages at your desired schools? If not, would you consider studying longer for the GMAT and applying to schools next year? In any case, if you’d like some general advice on how to improve your quant skills, feel free to reach out. Good luck!
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New post 02 Dec 2019, 22:15
Hi roxor999,

Just to be clear, the plan that I would recommend for 3 weeks of study (with the goal of scoring 650+) is different from the one that I would recommend for 2 months (with the goal of scoring 700+). If you're now thinking of committing 2 months (or more) of consistent study time, then I think that you would have a good chance of scoring a lot higher.

To start, while the most realistic CATs available are the 6 from GMAC, retaking a CAT that you've already taken is NOT a realistic way to assess your skills - since you will likely see some 'repeat' questions that you have already faced. Unfortunately, seeing even a couple of repeats can 'throw off' the Scoring Algorithm and impact your pacing, energy levels, fatigue, etc. (meaning that they would likely all appear to be better than they actually are). Thankfully, the CATs from Kaplan, MGMAT and Veritas are all 'close enough' to the real thing that they will provide you with a relatively realistic score assessment (assuming that you correctly take the CAT in a realistic fashion). Since you've already used the MGMAT CATs and 2 of the Official CATs, you should plan to use NEW CATs from any of those other sources next.

Based on all of the information that you have provided, I think that you would find the EMPOWERgmat Total Score Booster to be quite helpful. Most of our clients complete that Study Plan in under 2 months, so the time commitment wouldn't be that bad. We have a variety of free resources on our site (www.empowergmat.com), so you can 'test out' the Course before setting up an Account.

If you have any additional questions, then you can feel free to contact me directly.

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New post 03 Dec 2019, 09:59
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi roxor999,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. The good news is that your actual GMAT score was right in line with your practice test scores, so it seems that you performed to your ability level on test day. Regarding your path forward, I agree that it may be difficult to make significant improvements in your quant score in just 3 weeks. Does your current GMAT score hit the averages at your desired schools? If not, would you consider studying longer for the GMAT and applying to schools next year? In any case, if you’d like some general advice on how to improve your quant skills, feel free to reach out. Good luck!


Hi Scott, thank you for your answer. Unfortunately, my GMAT is a bit below the averages of my desired schools. The good thing is that I still have time for some other schools, the deadline for the application is in 2-3 months. Would be great if you could give me some general advice!
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New post 03 Dec 2019, 10:06
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi roxor999,

Just to be clear, the plan that I would recommend for 3 weeks of study (with the goal of scoring 650+) is different from the one that I would recommend for 2 months (with the goal of scoring 700+). If you're now thinking of committing 2 months (or more) of consistent study time, then I think that you would have a good chance of scoring a lot higher.

To start, while the most realistic CATs available are the 6 from GMAC, retaking a CAT that you've already taken is NOT a realistic way to assess your skills - since you will likely see some 'repeat' questions that you have already faced. Unfortunately, seeing even a couple of repeats can 'throw off' the Scoring Algorithm and impact your pacing, energy levels, fatigue, etc. (meaning that they would likely all appear to be better than they actually are). Thankfully, the CATs from Kaplan, MGMAT and Veritas are all 'close enough' to the real thing that they will provide you with a relatively realistic score assessment (assuming that you correctly take the CAT in a realistic fashion). Since you've already used the MGMAT CATs and 2 of the Official CATs, you should plan to use NEW CATs from any of those other sources next.

Based on all of the information that you have provided, I think that you would find the EMPOWERgmat Total Score Booster to be quite helpful. Most of our clients complete that Study Plan in under 2 months, so the time commitment wouldn't be that bad. We have a variety of free resources on our site (http://www.empowergmat.com), so you can 'test out' the Course before setting up an Account.

If you have any additional questions, then you can feel free to contact me directly.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


Thank you for your help, Rich.

I would like to try to prepare as much as possible in those 3 weeks - any higher GMAT would increase my chances to get accepted. If it will be the same or even worse, I just simply will cancel it.

Additionally, as there are also some other schools in which I am interested in and where the application deadline is in 2-3 months, I think I might give your prep course a try so I could have a chance to score even higher.

But for now, how should I study so I could maybe score +650 in 3-3,5 weeks? Besides using new CATs from other ressources (and only once a week), what else should I do? Should I rather redo the OG + Reviews (and track all my mistakes which I did not do before) or should I use new questions? There are tens of thousands of questions on this forum so I'm a bit confused about how I should study.

Thanks!
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Re: Any chance I could improve my score or should I apply with a 620?  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2019, 12:02
Hi roxor999,

Many Schools view an Applicant's Quant Scaled Score as an indicator of how that Applicant might handle the 'academic side' of the Program - and a Q38 won't impress anyone. That score implies that you did okay on many of the "math" questions that you saw on Test Day, but you made a number of little mistakes throughout the section and you missed out on LOTS of 'strategy-based' points. This is meant to say that by focusing on Quant Tactics, you'll be better able to increase your GMAT Score AND better impress how School Admissions Officers will view your potential to handle their Programs.

If you're looking to retest in approximately 3 weeks, then focusing on the Quant section would likely be the best use for your study time. I think that you would find the EMPOWERgmat Quant Score Booster to be quite helpful. Most of our clients complete that Study Plan in well under a month, so it should fit your timeframe nicely. Just as with the Total Score Booster Study Plan, you can access the Quant Score Booster by setting up a Free Trial Account. After you've worked through the first few Quant Modules, you can feel free to contact me (through PM or email) and I'll be happy to answer any additional questions that you have.

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New post 03 Dec 2019, 18:16
roxor999 wrote:

Hi Scott, thank you for your answer. Unfortunately, my GMAT is a bit below the averages of my desired schools. The good thing is that I still have time for some other schools, the deadline for the application is in 2-3 months. Would be great if you could give me some general advice!


Hi Roxor999,

To improve your GMAT score to a higher level, you need to go through GMAT quant and verbal 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. For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, then 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. When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such 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. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

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, types that you would rather not see, and types 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. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. 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.

You can work on verbal in a similar manner. Let’s say you are reviewing Critical Reasoning. Be sure that you practice a large number of Critical Reasoning questions: Strengthen and Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, find the Conclusion, Must be True, etc. As you go through the questions, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get correct. If you missed a Weaken question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize what the question was asking? Did you skip over a key detail in an answer choice? Getting GMAT verbal questions right is a matter of what you know, what you see, and what you do. So, any time that you don't get one right, you can seek to identify what you had to know to get the right answer, what you had to see that you didn't see, and what you could have done differently to arrive at the correct answer.

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.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some new quant and verbal materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses. You also may find it helpful to read the following article about The Phases of Preparing for the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions. Good luck!
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Re: Any chance I could improve my score or should I apply with a 620?   [#permalink] 03 Dec 2019, 18:16
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