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Intern
Joined: 04 May 2009
Posts: 14
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21 Jul 2009, 12:45
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I took the GMAT yesterday and scored 650 (Q40, V39) after 2.5 months of prep. My goal was to hit 710+ and based on my practice tests I thought I was in good shape… wow, what a rude awakening! Although verbal was within my practice test range, my quant dropped lower than all of my practice exams after the first diagnostic (and that was over 2 months ago before extensive review, primarily with MGMT guides). Who says studying helps? Needless to say, I was shocked at my poor performance and I’m trying to piece together what happened.

I’ve pulled together some personal conclusions at the end of my post, but I really need everyone’s help to figure out where to go from here. Another big question is how long to wait before a retake.

Background:

I started prep by focusing on quant with the Kaplan GRE & Math workbook (somewhat dated) and then moved on to my greatest quant weakness at the time, number properties. I used the MGMT guide and worked through the whole book. I was optimistic and thought the other quant areas would come to me through OG problems, so after the problem sets in those two books, I completed all PS and DS problems in the OG (keeping track of right and wrong answers).

Then I moved over to verbal, completed the MGMT SC guide along with the categorized questions from the Verbal companion, and then completed all SC questions in OG11. I was about a month away from the test date at this point, and I realized that I would need a much better review of all topics, so I ordered the rest of the MGMT guides except for RC, which is my strongest suit. Over the course of the last month, I read through all of the guides and did most of the included problems sets. During the last two weeks of prep, I completed a few of the GMATClub challenges and burned through the Quant companion in DS and PS. I also started going over missed quant questions from my error log during the last week.

Following is my practice test history, almost all tests were taken with the AWA:
MGMT CAT1 05-10-09 580 37 32
GMATPrep1 06-13-09 690 47 38
MGMT CAT2 06-21-09 690 45 38
MGMT CAT3 06-28-09 710 42 44
MGMT CAT4 07-05-09 670 43 38
MGMT CAT5 07-09-09 700 45 40
GMATPrep2 07-11-09 710 44 41
GMATPrep1 07-12-09 760 49 44 Retake
GMATPrep2 07-18-09 740 48 44 Retake
Actual GMAT 07-20-09 650 40 39

Test Day:

I was pretty nervous at the beginning of quant, and I totally blanked on the first few questions. One problem that stumped me was asking for a square root of a decimal, and I didn’t think to convert to integers and factor… that just looked like the wrong way to go for some reason. Another easy problem that I never had problems with involved averages… I had to guess on 2 problems in the first three. From there I got comfortable, but the test was rather easy. I’m not sure if the difficulty went so low in the beginning that it took forever to ramp up again, but I didn’t feel challenged for the rest of quant, and managed to finish early. I had never finished early on any practice exam and usually struggle to keep time. Nevertheless, it’s hard to believe that I couldn’t have recovered to more than a 40, so I’m guessing I must have fallen for some traps.

Verbal didn’t produce any surprises, but I know I spent too much time on some SC’s, and consequently I was pressed for time on CR and RC.

Conclusions:
- My Quant foundation is shakier than I thought. What’s the best way to fix this?
- I’m missing <700 level questions in quant. I need to go through the error log and hammer at these before tackling harder problems.
- My prep time was too short for my needs, and I never had a chance to fully digest my errors (only reviewed error log once for Quant).
- I didn’t have enough time to really drill my weaknesses. For example, inequality DS’s are still shaky, as are high level number properties questions.
- I think I’m solving too many problems the ‘brute force’ way, and I lose sight of shortcuts or concepts. This is likely my downfall on the higher level questions.
- My biggest fear is that there is some fundamental flaw in my basic quant that is holding me back, even before we start talking about the <700 level questions.
- I probably shouldn’t have taken the last practice exam 2 days before. I had been going full-bore for over a month (3 hrs weekdays, 5+ on weekends), and burnout may have been a factor

What do you guys recommend from here? Should I go back and pick up math from the beginning before moving to the OG error log? Which materials should I stick to?

 Kaplan GMAT Prep Discount Codes Math Revolution Discount Codes Jamboree Discount Codes
Senior Manager
Joined: 10 Dec 2008
Posts: 482
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 760 Q49 V44
GPA: 3.9
Followers: 40

Kudos [?]: 200 [0], given: 12

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21 Jul 2009, 14:34
Here is bb's plan to get over the 700 hump.
gmat-study-plan-go-from-650-to-80235.html

I would suggest the gmatclub tests and the mgmat question banks for improving your quant. it helps to review the questions who took longer than 3 minutes (even if you got them correct) to see if there are any possible shortcuts you may have missed.
Manager
Joined: 16 Apr 2009
Posts: 160
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22 Jul 2009, 05:34
I also suggest you go for the GMATclub tests.They have got gr8 reviews
Intern
Joined: 04 May 2009
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22 Jul 2009, 11:26
Thanks for the input guys. I have all of my mgmt question banks untouched and about 15 gmat club challenges left, so after a quick breather this week I'll start tackling those. I'll probably start going through mid-range OG questions as well, trying to figure out why I'm still missing some of those.

And now that I'm not trying to burn through material for the first time, I will start spending more time on the forums. There is so much good stuff to pick up here.

One thing is certain, I'm recovering from the first defeat and actually looking forward to the rematch!!
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22 Jul 2009, 23:32
all the best for your next attempt
Director
Joined: 01 Apr 2008
Posts: 897
Name: Ronak Amin
Schools: IIM Lucknow (IPMX) - Class of 2014
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23 Jul 2009, 00:03
Don't worry. It is better to open eyes now than later. I don't think you are doing too bad.
Quant is something that you can ace by loads of practice. There is no way out. However, after you complete the tests make sure that you review your wrong answers 'conceptwise'. Think 'what should I do if I get similar inputs/information for other question' OR 'what is the best way to handle these types of problems'. Then you get your concepts clear and everything will be just fine.

For the first 3-4 questions/minutes/shots everyone can be shaky and vulnerable, even the greatest players in sports are:)..so just look at the first 3-4 questions as warm up questions..take your own time to tackle them(2/2.5 mins max )..then you will be into the game.

Good luckkk !
Intern
Joined: 04 May 2009
Posts: 14
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Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 0

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24 Jul 2009, 11:29
Thanks for the support! I'm planning to restart my quant prep this weekend with a better post-mortem for all questions.

On the bright side, my AWA came back 6.0, so at least I know where I stand on that.

Cheers!
Manager
Joined: 13 Jun 2007
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26 Sep 2009, 11:10
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