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ESR Analysis: How to get to 760+ from 720

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ESR Analysis: How to get to 760+ from 720  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2019, 00:24
Hi experts,

I sat for GMAT last Saturday and came out with an okay score of 720 (50Q; 38V; 8IR). However, as I am aiming for 760+, I would like to get your input on how to get there.

Background: I am East Asian male working in MBB. My plan is to apply for top 3 MBA programs (H/S/W) next year (R1 2020) for 2021 entry. The reasons that I want to get 760 are 1) I am from an over-represented pool of applicants (consulting & Asian) with better than average GMAT 2) I think I could get there with the amount of prep I have put in so far and amount of time I have left

GMAT experience so far:

Material: GMATPrep; OG15-19; VR15-19; Manhattan SC

I started GMAT prep seriously around end of February. I was at home taking care of my newborn daughter and signed up for an online GMAT question databases to work. I got around two weeks of full-time prep during this period. After this period, around mid-March, I started work full-time again. Given the intensity of full-time work, I managed to squeeze probably 1 hour of prep during the week and roughly 4-5 hours each day of the weekend. So in total: 2 weeks of full-time prep and 1 month of prep on the job.

My strategy has been consistent: I only use GMAC official questions and if I get a question wrong, I would go to gmatclub to look for answers. If there is a topic that I am unsure about, I would look out for posts/ books specifically for that issue.

My GMATPrep results so far:
GMATPrep 1: 720 (50Q; 38V; 5IR) March 14: This is the first test after around 2.5 weeks of prep. I got around 11 incorrects in Verbal and 9 incorrects in Quant
GMATPrep 2: 770 (50Q; 44V; 8IR) March 24: Huge jump in Verbal. I got around 6 incorrects in Verbal and 5 incorrects in Quant
GMATPrep 3: 760 (50Q; 44V; 5IR) March 31: Minimal drop in Verbal. I got 6 incorrects in Verbal and 3 incorrects in Quant
GMATPrep 4: 740 (50Q; 39V; 8IR) April: I did not manage to press Next on last section of Verbal and suspected I was penalized for that. I got 5 incorrects in Verbal (not including the last question) and 2 incorrects in Quant

Recount of real test:
I chose the following order: Verbal - Quant - IR/Writing

The night before I did some light studying and managed to get 7 hours of sleep (much better than my normal sleeping pattern). My test was at 10am so I got a coffee and then went to test center. Everything was fine.

Verbal: I felt that I breeze through the first quarter of the test. It was a combination of SC & CR. I was bogged down a bit in the second quarter, but I did not feel particularly challenged. I did not practice my pacing during the first 4 tests so I kept looking at the clock and was pressed on time towards the end. I had to guess the last question of the test, which was a SC.

Quant: I started ok but immediately felt that the difficulty level was higher than the GMATPrep tests that I had. I was never pressed on time for the previous quant sections, but I did have at least 2 questions that I had to take a guess given the time constraint in the real thing. Since my Quant score has always been 50 with upward trend, I secretly hope that I would score a Q51 on the real test. After sitting in the real exam, I now know that I am a long way there.

IR: I did not have any prep other than the GMATPrep, however I don't think this section was too important and I would fare better if I invest my time in Q & V. I particularly remember there was a very challenging question at the beginning. However after that, most questions are manageable.

Writing: I actually never wrote a full essay before the real test. I think I managed to squeeze at least 500 words following the template circulating around the forum. For my coming prep, I don't think I would spend more time at all in this section.

Reaction after seeing my score: 720 38V. Disbelief and disappointment. I felt like I came back to the start line - my score was exactly the same where I was one month ago. I understand that there might be variation between prep test score and real score - but a swing of 50 points from my best attempt (770) was disheartening.

My read on ESR: My percentile breakdown was lowest in RC. I actually did not pay lots of attention to this section - In my 4 prep tests, I managed to survive 2 tests without any incorrect in RC and for the other 2, 1 & 2 incorrects respectively. I did not feel I was challenged in RC either (that's why I did not mention RC in the debrief above) so it was probably a case of bad luck - I might totally have missed the point of a RC passage?

Plan of attack: Since my work is lagging a bit, I plan to place GMAT aside and focus on work for the incoming weeks. I could either retake in 1 month, testing my luck for a better RC component score or resit in the summer as I am planning to take some time offwork to take care of family (newborn child). My target for prep would be enhancing my Verbal (first-order priority) & try to take my quant to Q51 level (second-order). Since I won't be applying until next year, there is no real time pressure. The only thing is that the GMAT would stay on my mind and it has been quite disruptive to my work as well as personal affairs (gym, reading etc.).

I would really appreciate the input on where I should focus my prep on and if my plan is sound. Thanks guys!
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Re: ESR Analysis: How to get to 760+ from 720  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2019, 10:50
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Hello goldnano ...welcome to the community. Congratulations!! on such a stellar score.

Below are some of the links that may be helpful :

https://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-impro ... l#p1836416
https://gmatclub.com/forum/four-years-t ... l#p1852541
https://gmatclub.com/forum/780-q50-v47- ... l#p1462711
https://gmatclub.com/forum/780-q50-v47- ... l#p1462711

There are also a lot of posts by the Verbal Legends GMATNinja , sayantanc2k , souvik101990 , abhimahna.

Hope this helps.
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Re: ESR Analysis: How to get to 760+ from 720  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2019, 19:23
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Hi goldnano,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Although you are not happy with your recent 720, a 720 is not a bad starting point, right? Looking at your ESR, I agree that your plan to improve your Reading Comprehension skills and increase your quant score to 51 is a good call. So, here is some advice you can follow to improve in both RC and quant. Let’s start with RC.

To improve in Reading Comprehension, you need to focus on understanding what you are reading. When you are incorrectly answering Reading Comprehension questions, it’s partly because you do not truly understand what you have just read, right? Thus, you likely have to slow down in order to (eventually) speed up. At this point, your best bet is to focus on getting the correct answers to questions, taking as much time as you need to see key details and understand the logic of what you are reading. You have to learn to comprehend what you read, keep it all straight, and use what you are reading to arrive at correct answers. If you don't understand something, go back and read it one sentence at a time, even one word at a time, not moving on until you understand what you have just read. There is no way around this work. Your goal should be to take all the time you need to understand exactly what is being said and arrive at the correct answer. If you can learn to get answers taking your time, you can learn to speed up. Answering questions is like any task: The more times you do it carefully and successfully, the faster you become at doing it carefully and successfully.

Another component of understanding what you are reading is being “present” when reading. Don’t worry about how things are going at work, or what you will eat for dinner, or even how long you are taking to read through the passage. Just focus on what is in front of you, word by word, line by line. Furthermore, try to make reading fun. For example, even if you are reading about a topic that bores you, pretend that you are the person making the argument. By doing so, you will make the passage more relatable to YOU, and ultimately you should be able to read with greater focus.

One final component of Reading Comprehension that may be tripping you up is that RC questions contain one or more trap answers that seem to answer the question but don't really. So, a key part of training to correctly answer RC questions is learning to notice the differences between trap answers and correct answers. You have to learn to see how trap answers seem to follow from what the passages say, but don't really, while correct answers fit what the passages say exactly.

Regarding quant, since you scored a Q50, you clearly are skilled in GMAT quant. However, to hit a Q51, you need to go through quant carefully to find your exact weaknesses and fill gaps in your knowledge. 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.

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.

Feel free to reach out with further questions. Good luck!
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Re: ESR Analysis: How to get to 760+ from 720  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2019, 08:51
Hi goldnano,

720 is a really good score to start with.

You can enroll for egmat to push your verbal score and see if it will help you by attending a free webinar.
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Re: ESR Analysis: How to get to 760+ from 720  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Aug 2019, 04:59
scott: Thank you for your encouraging words. I took some of your advices to heart for my prep this time and did well. Really appreciate the eagerness to help of this community.
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Re: ESR Analysis: How to get to 760+ from 720  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2019, 17:18
goldnano wrote:
scott: Thank you for your encouraging words. I took some of your advices to heart for my prep this time and did well. Really appreciate the eagerness to help of this community.


My pleasure!
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Re: ESR Analysis: How to get to 760+ from 720  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2019, 18:00
goldnano wrote:
scott: Thank you for your encouraging words. I took some of your advices to heart for my prep this time and did well. Really appreciate the eagerness to help of this community.


Very nice! Congratulations on being done with the GMAT! Did you get the 760 score you wanted?
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Re: ESR Analysis: How to get to 760+ from 720  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2019, 05:01
HanoiGMATtutor: Yes, I got a 770. Verbal was lower than my normal practice test range but I am kinda happy where it landed so don't think I would retake.
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Re: ESR Analysis: How to get to 760+ from 720  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Aug 2019, 13:16
goldnano wrote:
HanoiGMATtutor: Yes, I got a 770. Verbal was lower than my normal practice test range but I am kinda happy where it landed so don't think I would retake.


That's really impressive! If you have 15 minutes to write a debrief on how you improved so significantly at the top range of the GMAT, I think that will be a great way to give back to the forum.

Best of luck with your applications next year!
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Stuck in the 600's and want to score 700+ on the GMAT?
If this describes you, we should talk. I specialize in getting motivated students into the 700's.


$90/hour as of August 2019. I am not accepting any more students for the Fall 2019 application cycle, but if you are planning to apply in 2020, feel free to reach out!


http://www.facebook.com/HanoiGMATtutor
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Re: ESR Analysis: How to get to 760+ from 720   [#permalink] 25 Aug 2019, 13:16
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