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Debrief --> 570 --> 640 --> ...WIP

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Intern
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Joined: 13 Feb 2018
Posts: 19
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GMAT 1: 640 Q42 V35
Debrief --> 570 --> 640 --> ...WIP  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 25 Oct 2018, 04:53
1
Hello guys,

So I've been looking forward to post a nice debrief but haven't achieved my goal yet. :p

Anyway, I've been following GmatClub for a while and trying to use some of the recommendations here to my case. So, a small summary of my situation: I started studying at the beginning of February, with only the Manhattan books. Didn't read all, but focused on weak points (like Geometry) and the great books (like SC). My first GMAT attempt was in late April with a 570 (Q37/V31), close to my average at the mocks, but I did hope at least a 600 then. I knew I wasn't scoring really good, but if I didn't go for the test, I wouldn't lose the "GMAT fear" I always had (it still freaks me out, though).

No doubt about retaking, and although I wanted to do it after 1 or 2 months, many things took me out of the way. I regained my confidence and willingness to continue the process - I really want to go to the MBA next year - and restarted studying, but only months after the first attempt. My real dedication was for a month (prior to the test), and I focused on improving Quant. I was scoring around 40-42 already (even on first attempt. Q37 was a bit of a shock for me), so if I could work hard in improving it, I thoughy I could reach Q47 (good enough for me). My second attempt was today and I got 640 (70 points improve in one month dedicated study - while still working and so on) and I got more pleased, but of course I want to get as close as possible to 700 (or more). Now I have Q42 and V35, which satisfy me on the Verbal part already, but I’m stuck at Q at focuslow 40’s.

I plan to retake (last attempt) in December, because I will send my applications in January/February (for Sept19 or Jan/20 intakes). I have been preparing mostly by self studying (I tried a month of Empowergmat, but although it’s quite good, I decided to focus on doing more OG exercises and brushing up concepts I was still lacking), but now I will now get a tutor, mostly for the Math part (I think I can keep improving Verbal on my own, as I didn’t focus much this and got 4 points already).
What else can be done or what am I getting wrong that my Quant scores do not improve? I’m pretty sure that in terms of concept, I am quite ok. Today at the test I felt some of the questions were quite easy to solve, some medium and the quite hard ones, I would let go more easily than before (with an exception to one or two that I would still try to solve and waste some time). I finished on time, with 2 or 3 minutes to solve the last question.

My mocks for this attempt were all, but one, bellow 640. My highest Q till today (1st and 2nd attempt) is 45 and I think I was pausing the exam during this attempt. I have error logs and I try solving wrong questions later on. Definitely something is not sticking or my "educated guesses" are not so educated hehe.

Well, would love to hear some suggestions. And hopefully I will be back with my targeted score by late December!

Originally posted by njesus on 24 Oct 2018, 13:10.
Last edited by njesus on 25 Oct 2018, 04:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Debrief --> 570 --> 640 --> ...WIP  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2018, 22:00
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Hi njesus,

To start, raising a 570 to a 640 is a noteworthy achievement - you improved in both the Quant and Verbal sections and you still have the opportunity to pick up significant points in both sections. Your studies over the last 6 months are a bit unclear though, so I'm hoping that you can provide a bit more information on how you studied.

1) Were you studying a consistent number of hours each week (and if so, then how many)? Did you take any 'time off' from your studies?
2) What study materials were you focusing on using during each of those months?
3) What 'brands' of practice CATs have you used so far (including the ones you took before your 1st GMAT)?
4) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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
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Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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Re: Debrief --> 570 --> 640 --> ...WIP  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2018, 02:57
1
1
Hi njesus,

This looks as if you just typed my debrief...!
I am in the exact same boat here.
Started my prep in March, along with work.
Gave my first attempt around 20th June and scored a 560, second attempt around 30th July and scored a 630.

The only difference being, that I was able to improve my Quant from 38 in 1st attempt to 49 in 2nd, while my verbal dropped from 28 to 27.
I am also aiming to cross the 700 mark in this attempt - I have taken some time in between to procrastinate. I started my prep again in Oct, from scratch this time in Verbal. I am taking the help of eGmat's Verbal Live Course and I hope it helps me this time around.

Coming to the main point, since I was able to improve my Quant by 11 points in about a month, I think I can help you here with my strategy for Quant :
1. I first started with revising all concepts (I had my cheat codes that I made while studying quant in the initial days) when I made my mind to give a second attempt.
2. I realized that I had a good grasp on the concepts, but I was missing out on a few tricks. For ex., not considering -ve values when the question said "If x is an integer".
I came across this brilliant article by MathRevolution on gmatclub named "The Ultimate Q51 guide [Expert Level]". Apologies as I am not able to post the link here.
This article has the common tricks and traps with examples. MUST READ !
3. Point 2, I realized, we can only practice and learn. There is no shortcut. So I purchased the Question Bank on the mba site. I would attempt 30 questions everyday in a timed manner and make a note of all such mistake and traps. The next day I would read that list of silly mistakes before the next round.
4. After I was confident, based on the improvement in my performance for over 10-12 days (in the question bank provided on mba site only), I used the GMATCLUB tests. They have about 24 CAT's.
When I started, I scored a 40 - a huge shocker and a hit to my confidence, as my accuracy at this time on mba question bank was approx 85%-92%.
But I understood that the questions in GMATCLUB CAT's are tougher than the usual ones, so I kept on giving those CAT's.
5. I followed the same cycle - noting down the mistakes and traps , reading them again the next day and so on for the last 15 days before my second attempt at GMAT - this time around on the GMATCLUB CAT's.
But there was one more insight from the GMATCLUB tests - the different ways of attacking the same question provided in the solutions. This is a MUST if you are trying to push your score to 49+.
This made Overlapping Sets, my weakness at the beginning, my strength by the end of the practice.

I didn't do anything for those last 15 days except this daily routine of solving a CAT and noting down the traps,trends and ALTERNATIVE WAYS (can't emphasis more on that).
I hope this helps you in your prep too. I am following the same route this time around too, since my focus now is only on Verbal.
Might be you could share some insights there.

All the best with your prep !
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Re: Debrief --> 570 --> 640 --> ...WIP  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2018, 05:37
1
Hi njesus,

Congratulations on the 70 points improvement! It definitely sets a very good stage for your next 70 points improvement. It is very clear that Quant has the maximum scope of improvement for you which is what you have identified as well. A score of Q42 corresponds to 43 percentile which indicates conceptual as well as process gaps. You must focus on bridging these gaps. Solving OG questions is important as they give you a practice on official questions, but they are not enough at your score. I am sharing a couple of success stories of students who improved from similar stories to their target score by following a structured approach which you may find helpful.
    • Guillermo improved from a Q38 (36 percentile) to Q50 (85 percentile). Click here to watch his interview. Click here to read his amazing GMAT Club debrief.
    • Carrie improved from a Q35 (26 percentile) to a Q50 (85 percentile) in 3 weeks. Click here to watch here video interview. Click here to read her amazing GMAT Club de-brief.

I invite you to attend our free Number Properties webinar this weekend to learn a structured approach to solve NP problems and how to avoid pitfalls. Register here to reserve your spot.

Regards,
Aditee
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GMAT 1: 640 Q42 V35
Re: Debrief --> 570 --> 640 --> ...WIP  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2018, 09:19
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi njesus,

To start, raising a 570 to a 640 is a noteworthy achievement - you improved in both the Quant and Verbal sections and you still have the opportunity to pick up significant points in both sections. Your studies over the last 6 months are a bit unclear though, so I'm hoping that you can provide a bit more information on how you studied.

1) We're you studied a consistent number of hours each week (and if so, then how many)? Did you take any 'time off' from your studies?
2) What study materials were you focusing on using during each of those months?
3) What 'brands' of practice CATs have you used so far (including the ones you took before your 1st GMAT)?
4) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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


Dear Rich,

I have to say I was pleased to read your response. I loved hearing "Rich here" at the beginning of every video :D

So, here are my answers to the your points:
1. I have not been studying from May till now. I took a break until late August and restarted my preparation around September. My weekly study routine was about 1-2 hours from Monday till Friday and one mock test per weekend plus revision of the test.
2. I kept using Manhattan books for theory and Quantitative and Verbal Review (2nd Edition) books plus OG (13th edition) for exercises. I did finish the Review books, but did not exhaust all of OG.
3. During the 1st attempt preparation I used GMATPrep software (1-4) and Veritas 2 free tests. During my 2nd attempt, I used GMATPrep online (1-6) plus some free GMATClub tests.
4. I am planning on focusing a bit more on applications now, so I thought about dedicating 2/3 nights a week (about 2h/each) plus one day at the weekend (up to 6h) for GMAT. Since I’m planning to retake it around the last week of December, it gives me about 2 months of preparation, ~10h/week. Would that be enough or should I put in some more hours?
5. I have both of my ESR, so I would be glad if you could give me some insights of it. How can I send it to you?

Thanks again.
Natália
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Re: Debrief --> 570 --> 640 --> ...WIP  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2018, 10:42
Hi Natália,

The data in your two ESRs would be helpful in properly analyzing your current skills (and how you 'respond' to Test Day). You can feel free to PM or email them directly to me) and I'll be happy to analyze them for you.

1) How long ago did you take your last practice CAT and how did you Score (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores)?

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

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

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Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

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GMAT 1: 640 Q42 V35
Re: Debrief --> 570 --> 640 --> ...WIP  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2018, 10:43
1
Dear shibanis01,

Glad to read your story. Thanks for the suggestions. They seem pretty good! That's why I like the forum, it gives us new ideas and insights to help us improve.

My verbal preparation for this 2nd attempt was less theoretical. I have read here in other debriefs about introducing more English reads into my daily routine. Also, I chose 2 out of 3 types to improve (mine were RC and SC).
1. As I like reading a lot, but not necessarily the proper material for tests, I made a habit of reading at least one article per day from Scientific American (https://www.scientificamerican.com/), NYTimes (https://www.nytimes.com/), The Economist (https://www.economist.com/) or Mckinsey Quartely (https://www.mckinsey.com/) to get used to different vocabularies and themes.
2. For SC, I had already installed an app called ready4Gmat, but I didn’t use it so much before. This time, whenever I´d have some spare time (like in the bus, waiting in lines, etc), I’d open the app and try a set of questions. I even enjoy SC questions now. 
3. I studied only with official materials (Verbal Review and OG) and I found the explanations quite good, occasionally checking some GmatClub explanations if I had doubts.
4. One thing that makes things stick with me is handwriting. I think it helps me absorb more and when I revise, I tend to remember ideas and concepts more easily. So I would jot down specially the wrong answers. For AWA, it was the best way to practice (I prepared for it only on the final days and I got a 5 last time and I think I did fine this time as well).

Good luck to you too!
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GMAT 1: 640 Q42 V35
Re: Debrief --> 570 --> 640 --> ...WIP  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2018, 10:49
egmat wrote:
Hi njesus,

Congratulations on the 70 points improvement! It definitely sets a very good stage for your next 70 points improvement. It is very clear that Quant has the maximum scope of improvement for you which is what you have identified as well. A score of Q42 corresponds to 43 percentile which indicates conceptual as well as process gaps. You must focus on bridging these gaps. Solving OG questions is important as they give you a practice on official questions, but they are not enough at your score. I am sharing a couple of success stories of students who improved from similar stories to their target score by following a structured approach which you may find helpful.
    • Guillermo improved from a Q38 (36 percentile) to Q50 (85 percentile). Click here to watch his interview. Click here to read his amazing GMAT Club debrief.
    • Carrie improved from a Q35 (26 percentile) to a Q50 (85 percentile) in 3 weeks. Click here to watch here video interview. Click here to read her amazing GMAT Club de-brief.

I invite you to attend our free Number Properties webinar this weekend to learn a structured approach to solve NP problems and how to avoid pitfalls. Register here to reserve your spot.

Regards,
Aditee


Hi Aditee,

Thanks for the response and for sharing the similar debriefs! I signed up for the webinar to help me out some more! ;)

Regards.

Natália
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Re: Debrief --> 570 --> 640 --> ...WIP  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2018, 16:53
2
Hi njesus,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. The good news is that a 70-point improvement in just one month is awesome, so nice job! That being said, although it’s just 5 points, improving from a Q42 to a Q47 is no joke. Those are going to be some of the most difficult points you could shoot for because you will be, in essence, trying to go from a pretty decent quant score to a pretty awesome one.

Looking at your current study routine, you need to ensure that you avoid the approach of what I call “practice first and figure the rest out later” -- in other words, doing practice problems before understanding the concepts on which those problems are based, and thus trying to learn solely from reading solutions to problems. Trying to learn in such a way will leave gaps in your knowledge and impede progress. Thus, if you find that you are plateauing, perhaps try a more linear and structured approach to your prep.

For example, if you are learning about Number Properties, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

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.

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 it helpful to read my article about how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.
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Re: Debrief --> 570 --> 640 --> ...WIP &nbs [#permalink] 28 Oct 2018, 16:53
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