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Debrief: 730 first attempt; thinking about retaking

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Joined: 24 May 2017
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Debrief: 730 first attempt; thinking about retaking  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2017, 21:02
I just got home from the testing center and I'm feeling pretty disappointed. I ended up with a 730 (Q:49, V:40; IR:8) which is objectively a good score, but not what I was hoping for given my preparation and practice scores. I'm thinking I might retake, but I think I'll give it a few months.

Study time: ~12 weeks
Study materials: Magoosh (loved everything about Magoosh...), Manhattan GMAT books (mostly for SC), OG

I just finished my undergrad (Economics/Statistics double major) and have been studying fairly consistently over the last three months. I took the GMAT Prep 1 exam as a diagnostic and did shockingly well with a 760 (Q:47, V:47). That definitely had a negative effect on my study habits. The first two or three weeks was fairly sporadic and not super organized. Then I took my first Manhattan CAT and had a bit of a reality check in the form of a 680 (Q:44, V:39). I buckled down and started to get serious about studying. I took the free Kaplan CAT and scored 740. Ok, back on track...

I was more or less following the Magoosh 3 month plan for advanced students, but I was trying to focus on my weakest area (SC). My next Manhattan CATs were bouncing around the 700s (720 three weeks before the test, 710 two weeks before, and 740 one week before). I was generally pretty balanced between quant and verbal. The 740 was Q:46, V:45. Then this last week leading up to the real deal, I took my last two MGMAT CATs and crushed them: 760 (Q:49, V:45) and 780 (Q:49, V:48). Then, last Saturday, I took GMAT Prep #2 and scored 770 (Q:50, V:46). I was ready! I thought I had at least a 750 in the bag!

Wrong.

I made use of the order selection and chose Verbal, Quant, IR and AWA (same order I've been practicing with, except for my diagnostic CAT which was before the change). The Verbal section today was BRUTAL. I felt pretty good about almost all of the CR and RC questions as usual, but I felt like the SC questions were above and beyond anything I'd ever seen. There were a couple where I was sure all the answers were wrong (on one in particular, three answers were clearly wrong, one had an ambiguous antecedent and the other had a misplaced modifier...WTF!). In all my practice tests I finished Verbal with 10-15 minutes extra, but today I didn't even have time for the last question (I marked an answer, but it was just a guess)! My 40 on Verbal is the second lowest verbal score I've had, just ahead of the 39 on my first MGMAT test. Quant felt about the same as always (probably a notch easier than MGMAT) and IR was a breeze (IR in GMAT Prep and on the real thing today was laughable compared to what MGMAT throws at you...).

Overall, I'm not really happy with the 730. I'm planning to apply to HBS/Wharton/Sloan/Booth in ~4 years and as a white male, 730 just isn't going to cut it. Especially if GMAT averages keep rising like they have been recently. I figure I'll wait a few months and retake it after trying to improve what I thought were solid SC skills. At least if I wait until October/November to retake, I'll have one more year of application eligibility than I'll have with this score.

Anyone have retake advice/tips?
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Joined: 12 Oct 2015
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Concentration: Leadership, Accounting
GMAT 1: 700 Q47 V39
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Re: Debrief: 730 first attempt; thinking about retaking  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jul 2017, 17:57
Sorry to hear about your bad experience. But congrats on the great score anyways. if you feel that you can do better than definitely put in a few more weeks of study and give it another try. Given that you now know what to expect from the exam you are likely to do better. Get an ESR report to see which areas you did bad in. its possible that you might've done really well in SC hence the difficulty level and done worse in CR & RC. But no way to know without the ESR.

Good luck! Also when you say above and beyond? What do you mean? The Gmat only tests 10 topics on SC. Did you practice from the official guide and focus on the harder questions since Official guide is filled with easy SC question....? Would appreciate some insight.

Thanks!
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Re: Debrief: 730 first attempt; thinking about retaking   [#permalink] 28 Jul 2017, 17:57
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