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Disappointing Score Result (660) and When to Call it Quits

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New post 08 Jul 2020, 06:22
Received my GMAT online score results yesterday and some of my worst fears were realized with an purely middling, no mans land score of 660 (44Q, 36V). I had taken official practice tests the previous two weeks and scored 680 both times so this was a poor performance for me, particularly in verbal where I almost always score at least 38.

I guess I'm just trying to figure out if it's just time to call it quits. I was looking at MBA programs in the 20-30 range so my scores are below average everywhere. I've spent a total of 10 months preparing, including 2-3 hours a day every single day since late February. In the leadup to this last exam went perfectly and I felt amazingly confident and still produced a poor result with a particularly poor verbal score. I've complete Target Test Prep and probably done every question in their program 2-3 times hitting all the accuracy benchmarks, I've done every OG problem multiple times - I'm completely out of study material at this point. I started with a baseline score of 590 (36Q, 35V) and after so much hard work have improved a measly 70 points with almost a year's worth of dedication.

I had fully intended on applying in Round 1 this fall but I just don't think it makes sense anymore given my poor test score. It seems despite my best efforts I just don't have it in me to achieve a 700. Other than venting, I was hoping to get any advice people have on when you know it's time to just move on and accept the result. Just hard to swallow what feels like a significant personal failure and a year's worth of wasted investment.
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New post 08 Jul 2020, 19:02
Hi dddhhh82,

First off, a 660/Q44 is a solid Score, so it could be enough to get you into Business School. Depending on the specific Schools that you plan to apply to - and your OVERALL profile - you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your plans. Those Experts should be able to answer your Admissions questions and help define the specific areas of your profile that could use some improvement.

There's a Forum full of those Experts here:

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

It's also worth noting that 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 2 recent CAT score results - along with your Official Score - show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 670 +/- a few points). You handle certain aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but you also leave yourself open to making certain types of 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:

1) What study materials have you used over the course of ALL of your studies?
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)?
3) What Schools are you interested in?

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New post 09 Jul 2020, 05:12
Thank you for your input. I think largely much of my frustration seems to come from how little progress I seem to have made despite hundreds of hours of study. In regards specifically to your questions:

1) I took an in-person GMAT prep course of my city of residence last fall, which while helpful was not in depth enough for me to progress to my goal scores. I sat for the GMAT once in February and it was frankly a disaster - I felt woefully unprepared and was sick with a bad cold the entire week leading up to it and immediately cancelled my score following that exam (I think it was around 600ish). After a week to get healthy and reset, I then switched to Target Test Prep full time in late February. I basically completely neglected verbal until mid-May, I'm naturally pretty good with SC and RC but my weakness is CR. These mocks were all official mocks and taken legitimately.

2) 5/16 - 660 (44Q, 36V) zero study for verbal at this point
6/5 - 650 (46Q, 34V) had some big time time management issues on Verbal here
6/12 - 680 (41Q, 41V) finally the verbal breakthrough I was looking for, but tried the whiteboard thing for Q and suffered significantly with time management
6/26 - 670 (44Q, 38V) taken about 5 days before my exam
GMAT ONLINE: 660 (44Q, 36V)

I realize my score deviation here indicates I would get basically exactly what I got, I suppose I'm more at a loss why there is seemingly no improvement despite continued hard study. I rarely get verbal problems wrong in practice and was surprised with only a 36V after finally feeling like I broke through to the 40 range. I would've been satisfied with a 680-690 and felt like on a good day I'd get that, but rather seemed to perform on the low end of my abilities.

3) Looking mostly at schools in the 20-30s range such as Vanderbilt, Emory, UNC, CMU, PSU.
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New post 10 Jul 2020, 15:16
Hi dddhhh82,

While I have no doubt that you put in lots of study time and worked through lots of practice questions, your various score results (including your Official Score) show that you've been 'responding' to the GMAT in the same general ways for the last couple of months. The slight variations in your Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores are likely due to a handful of lucky/unlucky guesses and/or little mistakes (that you either made or did not make) on each individual Test that you took. In simple terms, "your way" of dealing with the GMAT will likely keep earning you a Score in this same range. You're actually closer to a 700+ than you probably realize, but you would have to make some fundamental changes to how you deal with the Exam (and you could pick up all of the missing points that you're after in just the Quant section or just the Verbal section).

As it stands, with your 660/Q44, you would likely be fine applying to each of the Schools that you listed. If you're interested in retesting though, you could retest in a month and potentially hit your Score (again, assuming that you're a 'flexible'-enough thinker to make the necessary changes to how you deal with the Test). If you'd like to discuss how you might best do that, then just let me know.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 11 Jul 2020, 20:01
Don't quit, keep at it. Grit is important. It sounds like you know the fundamentals and might have what it takes to score above 700, so the issue might be your testing strategy (ex: trying to solve every question algebraically, not controlling your time well, getting nervous and making careless mistakes).

Maybe try to have the mentality that you're done with the test - accept your 660 as your score, but still commit to testing once or twice more with no pressure; just keep practicing, go in without any high expectations and see what happens.
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New post 11 Jul 2020, 22:07
It's just one attempt. You'll meet many people who give multiple attempts. A years prep is nothing. You'll find multiple debriefs on this forum where people took more time and got into b schools. If you really want it, work for it. Again.

Also, you seem to have plateaued with your scores. Try analysing patterns of the questions you get wrong and why. I'm sure you've covered all concepts. Frankly, silly mistakes on higher scoring problems affect the score and that's why people score below 700. Try understanding what mistakes you are making.

Best of luck

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New post 13 Jul 2020, 11:00
Hi dddhhh82,

I’d love to help you get on the right track. Given that you scored 660, I think you may be closer to your score goal than you think. Can you reach out to me directly, so we can schedule some time for a call? I’ve got your back, my friend.
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Re: Disappointing Score Result (660) and When to Call it Quits   [#permalink] 13 Jul 2020, 11:00

Disappointing Score Result (660) and When to Call it Quits

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